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'Park, look, lock.' Officials warn about the dangers of hot cars

Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 23:27:50-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — West Michigan has seen a lot of days reach 90 degrees and with more on the way comes the dangers of heatstroke and tragedies that can happen when kids and animals are left inside in hot cars.

There’s now a nationwide effort to raise awareness.

“As you know so well. It is never okay to leave a child alone in a car, even, only a few moments,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said.

It’s something every parent knows, yet these tragedies strike every summer.

Last year alone more than 50 children died from heatstroke after being left in hot cars.

“That's because rolling down a window is not enough to cool a vehicle. In just 10 minutes, the interior of a car can heat up by 20 degrees,” Chao said.

FOX 17 Reporter Aaron Parseghian put a Jeep in the sun and a thermometer inside to see how hot it got.

After a couple minutes it was unbearable to be inside.

It went from 100 degrees to more than 120 degrees in 10 minutes, the amount of time that would be deadly to an infant or child.

“A simple mantra has been invented to help drivers remember what to do when they park, look, and lock,” Chao explained.

“It's also important for the public to understand that even if they don't have a child of their own neighborhood children can climb into unlocked vehicles. During the hot summer months, with tragic consequences to the kids so far this year, over half of the children who have died in hot cars, enter the vehicles on their own,” Chao added.

Officials also say to teach children that vehicles are not a place to play and if you see a child alone in a vehicle don’t hesitate to call 911.