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Experts say leaving children in the car unattended even for short amounts of time is dangerous

By Jillian Fertig, Reporter, jillian.fertig@kmiz.com
Published On: Jun 12 2013 10:21:13 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 13 2013 07:36:05 AM CDT

In the last 24 months, 911 has received 94 calls in Boone County for children left in a car.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -

In the last 24 months, 911 dispatchers have received 94 calls in Boone County for children left in a car. 

Dr. Eric Bettis of the Broadway Urgent Care facility said kids are more susceptible to heat injuries than adults.

"Lots of times, people just don't want to bother their children or they don't want to wake them up from a nap if they're back sleeping in the back seat," Bettis told ABC 17 News. 

Since record keeping began in 1998, more than 500 children have died nationwide, according to the San Francisco University Heat Stroke database. 

Bettis said kids just can't tolerate the heat.

"Children and also the elderly, they have a different body fat composition, and body surface area is different, so kids just don't tolerate the heat to the same degree as an adult," Bettis said. 

He also said 30 to 50 children die every year in the U.S. from being left in the car. 

"Most of those are inadvertent, none of those are intentional, you know, and all of them are tragic," Bettis said. 

Some of these accidents occurred even when a parent left the car running with the air conditioning on for their child. 

But Bettis warned that also comes with risks. 

If a child wakes up in a vehicle, they could accidentally put the car in drive or even hurt themselves in power windows. 

He said the best way to keep from adding to those statistics is to never leave your child in the car, no matter what season it is. 

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