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21 children have died in hot cars in 2019, a reminder to look before you lock

If you think it's hot outside, imagine how it feels inside of a locked car. That's exactly what we tested Friday. We put a thermometer inside of our FOX61 news truck and saw exactly how things heated up.

"You always hear parents say, 'how can this happen?'" said Amy Parmenter, from AAA. "Well, the fact of the matter is that it does happen."

According to the National Safety Council, 52 children died from being left in a hot car in 2018, which is a record.

So far in 2019, according to AAA, there have already been 21 heatstroke deaths from children being left in cars. 12 since Memorial Day.

"It often happens as a result of a change in routine," said Parmenter. "Of course kids aren't in school this time of year, so parents are shuffling a lot and there are a lot of changes in routine going on. That's how these kinds of things happen because we all have a lot of distractions."

Dr. Cynthia Price from Hartford Hospital says it only takes 10-12 minutes for a car to get to 30 degrees higher than the outside temperature. At 77 degrees outside Friday morning, FOX61's thermometer heated up to 108 in 10 minutes. 10 minutes locked in a car can be deadly.

"There’s no air circulating, so the evaporative cooling methods that our bodies are used to using; they don’t work," says Dr. Price. "So, very quickly you begin to boil. And you become dehydrated, your cells get denatured and they don’t work...Pretty soon you get sleepy, dizzy and then you probably go unconscious and that would lead to death."

The National Safety Council says to look in your backseat before you lock your car doors. A CT Good Samaritan law passed in 2018 allows people who see children or pets locked in the backseat of a car to take action as long as they think the passenger is in imminent harm and they call the police.

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