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Medical official addresses hot car risks after child rescued in Abbeville

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ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY)- Leaving anyone in a car when it’s hot outside is extremely dangerous. 

Dr. Jason Charrier, an Emergency Medicine Physician at Abbeville General Hospital about the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car. 

He says children under three years of age or especially under the age of one are most at risk. 

Related: Abbeville PD respond to an infant locked alone in a car

“It can reach upwards of 145° in a matter of 10 minutes,” said Dr. Charrier. “With the windows cracked, it can even reach up to 130° in 10 minutes with our Louisiana heat, so some of the health issues that it raises is of course we all think about dehydration and heat exhaustion. It can cause brain damage. It can cause heart damage and death pretty rapidly.” 

Dr. Charrier says if a child becomes significantly dehydrated, there can be kidney and brain damage. 

“There’s been on average about 38 reported deaths a year of children overheating in the car and as much as 80 to 90% of those deaths occur within the first 10 minutes. Some of them within the first five minutes so things happen very quickly,” explained Dr. Charrier. 

News 10’s Sylvia Masters wanted to see how long she could last in a hot car with it not running with A/C, no windows down, and the doors closed.

She only lasted about eight minutes in the hot car. 

If a child has been left in a car for more than 15 minutes, Dr. Charrier adds there may be significant damage. 

“They don’t have the ability to cool off their bodies,” said Dr. Charrier. “Even sweating, they can’t compensate very quickly so definitely, when they’re under a year age, under three years of age, with any young child is definitely at risk. Making people more aware I think we’ll prevent… even death is too many in this type of thing.” 

Dr. Charrier says there’s been almost 1,000 reported deaths from children overheating in a car since 1990. About 90-95% of those are under the age of three and over half of those about 60% are under the age of one. 

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