If they stopped to chat, some lucky Target shoppers may have snagged a tasty s’more Saturday afternoon at the Shoppes at Midway.
These were not ordinary campfire s’mores, though. The melted chocolate and marshmallow combo baked inside an SUV as part of a demonstration by SafeKids and the Knightdale Fire Department to remind parents not to leave their children unattended inside of hot vehicles.
While the temperatures soared upward of 100 degrees in the parking lot over the weekend, temps inside the demonstration car peaked at around 142 degrees Fahrenheit, shooting up almost 20 degrees in 10 minutes.
“Your body shuts down around 105 degrees,” Jan Parker of SafeKids North Carolina, said. “And young kids can’t cool down like an adult.”
Parker pointed out that few parents or guardians leave their children in the car on purpose – with busy lifestyles, many parents have close calls by simply forgetting to remove their child from the car.
But those mistakes can be fatal.
So far, there have been no deadly heat-related incidents in North Carolina this year, although there have been several close-calls, like a young girl left in a Chapel Hill daycare bus.
Around 40 children die from heat exposure inside cars every year nationwide, with July being the deadliest month, according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
According to Knightdale fire department officials, there have been no heat-exposure incidents this summer, although the department responds to a couple calls a week regarding children who have accidentally locked themselves in the car.
“That’s why we do events like this, to prevent those heat-related incidents,” Knightdale firefighter Candler Thornton said.
Normally, in accidental lock-ins, firefighters use a lock pick to open the car, but won’t hesitate to break through a window if they see a lethargic child.
“Most people don’t have a clue how hot it is (in the car),” Parker said.
Target employee Constance Brinson noted that although the store hasn’t had any incidents of children being left in the car, employees have had to call regarding pets being left in the car multiple times.
“I wish people would stop leaving their pets in the car,” she said. “People need to stop and think. Pets are living things, too.”
SafeKids encourages passersby who notice an unattended child in a car to immediately call 911.
Don’t let accidents happen:
- Check to make sure all children exit the vehicle when you reach your destination.
- Lock the doors when your vehicle is parked.
- Place your purse, briefcase or other important items in the backseat next to your child's car seat to help you remember to look in the back before leaving the car.
- Set a reminder on your cell phone or other mobile device to remind you to drop off children at school or daycare when routines change.
- Make an agreement with your child's school or daycare that you will be notified if your child is not dropped off at the normal time.
- If you see a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
- Check vehicles and trunks first if a child goes missing.
Tips from North Carolina SafeKids