Just a few minutes in a hot car can be fatal

Photo provided by NBC News.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 11:30am

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 3:50pm

At least eight children -- mostly babies and toddlers younger than age 2 -- have died this spring after being left by caregivers or trapped in hot cars.

With summer weather that feels like triple digits, authorities are raising awareness of the danger of unattended children in hot vehicles. Most deaths occurred when otherwise well-meaning parents or caregivers failed to notice that kids were still in the cars.

Texas consistently leads the nation in the number of hyperthermia deaths in unattended children in cars.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, an average of 38 children die after being in a hot car or truck.

The numbers come as a shock to many parents.

The NHTSA is encouraging parents to "look before you lock."

While half of the vehicle related hyperthermia deaths occur when a child is left unattended, firefighters say about 30 percent of the incidents involve children who climb into a hot car and lock themselves inside.

First responders say that people who see a child locked inside a hot vehicle should immediately call 911 because children's body temperatures can rise five times more quickly than an adult's.

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