FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - With the heat and humidity gripping the eastern U.S., the death toll of children left in hot cars is slowly starting to go up.
So far this year, 17 kids across the country died because they were left in a hot vehicle. That number is down from the 24 we saw at this point last year.
The inside of cars heat up even quicker than the air outside. During peak heating in the day, the air temperature in a car can rise to anywhere between 130 to 175 degrees. Add in that humidity, and you start seeing some of those more serious side effects we've talked about before. Rapid, strong heart beat, lack of sweating, loss of consciousness, and possibly death.
A policeman, firefighter, and a former NBA player in Indianapolis all attempted to stay in a car as long as possible Monday and they only made it 20 minutes. A child who can't unlatch themselves from the backseat has virtually no chance.
That's when police may get involved. "We're going to do anything to rescue the child first and get the child immediate medical attention that it may need."
Sofia Rosales-Scatena with Fort Wayne Police says there haven't been any local cases of children left in hot cars in recent memory, but if you leave your child in the car and something happens, you could face charges.
"There's several instances, several different variations, if you will, on charging depending on the injury to the child. So, they can range from neglect, neglect with bodily injury, and neglect resulting in death."
All of these charges are felonies in Indiana, meaning you'll have to stand in front of the judge. Maximum penalties range from 2 1/2 years for neglect to up to 40 years for neglect resulting in death.
"Neglect resulting in death is a Level 1, so it's the highest charging offense you can get. It wouldn't be a capital case, but it would be one of the highest charging offenses you can have in the state of Indiana."
So if the health of the children aren't enough to make you think twice about leaving them in a car on a summer day, just know you could be in trouble with the law.
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