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Life or death: Don’t leave your kids in the car during Arizona summers

(Arizona Department of Child Safety Photo)

PHOENIX — With blistering summer heat approaching, the Arizona Department of Child Safety is urging parents to make sure they are not leaving children in a hot car, even if it’s only for a minute.

According to a study from San Jose State University that compiled numbers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Arizona has the fourth-most child deaths in hot cars between 1998 and 2015.

“Take one look around the car before you get out to make sure that you’ve got everybody in your family that was in the car in the first place,” DCS spokesman Doug Nick said. “Never assume that you can leave a child in a car for any amount of time, anywhere.”

Nick said when it is 115 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car can reach 130 degrees. The steering wheel or dashboard could hit 200 degrees.

“That’s hot to the touch, obviously,” Nick said. “Even if a child’s not able to touch those things, the radiant heat coming off those things in the car just creates an oven-like atmosphere.”

He added that cracking a window does not keep the car cooler than if the windows were closed.

“Cracking the windows really doesn’t help at all,” Nick said. “It’s almost negligible, the effect that it has in cooling the car.”

Nick said if you see kids sitting in a hot car, take action as soon as you can. Call authorities and seek help.

“If it’s a matter of life and death you need to consider your actions in order to save a life,” Nick said.

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