HELENA — The Montana Children’s Trust Fund (MT CTF) is urging parents and caregivers to never leave children unattended in or around vehicles with their “Not Even for a Minute” Campaign.
There have already been 14 child deaths attributed to heatstroke in hot cars during 2020 in the United States.
On average, one child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle nearly every 10 days in the United States.
“This is an issue that needs the close attention of all parents and caregivers to prevent these tragedies from occurring,” said Not Even for a Minute Campaign organizer Melissa Lavinder of MT CTF.
It takes only a body temp of 104 degrees Fahrenheit for heat stroke to occur, and children’s bodies warm three to five times faster than an adult.
Lavinder said cracking windows, even to eight inches, has minimal effect on lowering the temperature inside a car.
For example, on a 73-degree day, the internal vehicle temperature can reach 90°F within 10 minutes and nearly 100°F within 20 minutes.
If the windows are all the way down, there remain other risks for leaving a child alone.
“If you leave your child in the car with the windows rolled down, there's a chance that a stranger or someone that you don’t know can come and take your care with the child inside,” said Lavinder.
If you do see a child left alone in a car, you should call 911 immediately. Trained personnel can then assess the situation and determine what needs to be done.