Pediatrician explains how child heatstroke in vehicles can happen in a matter of minutes

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The horror at the scene of a death involving a child left in a Jeep came through Tuesday in 911 calls released by the Tampa Police Department.

“There’s a little baby! He said he left her in the car. The baby’s not responding!” a neighbor said to a 911 operator.

Other 911 calls are from neighbors and family members screaming at the scene when they realized the one-year-old girl was left in the car for hours.

By the time her parents got to her, it was simply too late.

“It can actually be something that happens really quickly,” said Dr. Lisa Cronin of Children’s Medical Center in Hillsborough County.

She explained to 8 On Your Side how it can come on fast.

“In a very short time, even in ten minutes, the internal temperature of the car can raise twenty degrees from outside, and within an hour, it can raise forty degrees,” Dr. Cronin said.

It’s believed the child was forgotten in the Jeep along North 19th Street in Tampa from the morning to around 6:30 p.m.

As Floridians head into the cooler months, they shouldn’t be fooled by the lower outdoor temperatures.

If it’s 60 degrees outside, for example, the temperature of a car in the direct sunlight can quickly rise to 100 degrees, Dr. Cronin said.

She urges people to leave reminders in the backseat with a child, like a purse or a diaper bag, which will force them to check.

“Heatstroke is the number one cause of non-car crash-related deaths for children under the age of 15,” the doctor said.

The names of the people involved in the Monday incident haven’t been released.

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