In Orem, it is illegal to leave anyone under 6 alone in a vehicle. If a sibling is left in a car with someone under 6, that person has to be at least 12 years old.
Nationally, there have been four deaths in the United States this year, as of June 12, of children who died of hyperthermia after being left in a car, according to Jan Null, with San Francisco State University's Department of Geosciences. Null has done extensive research on hyperthermia deaths of children in vehicles.
In 2011, 33 children died as a result of hyperthermia from being left in vehicles. Since 1998, the U.S. has averaged 38 deaths per year, according to Null.
In 52 percent of those cases since 1998, the child was left in the car after being "forgotten" by the caregiver. More than half of the deaths involved infants under the age of 2, with infants less than 1 year old making up 30 percent of those deaths, according to statistics compiled by Null.
Utah had eight such fatalities between 1998 and 2011.
The last two children in Utah who died from hyperthermia as a result of being left in a vehicle were in 2008 in separate incidents. Prior to that, it had been at least five years since Utah had had a fatality.
Heatstroke can occur when a person's body temperature exceeds 104 degrees, according to Null. Children's thermoregulatory systems warm three to five times faster than an adult’s.
According to Null's studies, in just 10 minutes the temperature inside a vehicle can rise an average of 19 degrees, 29 degrees in 20 minutes and 34 degrees in 30 minutes. "Cracking a window" has little effect, she said.
The dog days of summer haven't even started, but Utah is experiencing high temperatures. Temperatures are expected to hover near 100 degrees by the end of the week, leading officials to sound the warning about the dangers of the summer sun.
"I think it's parents not being aware of the effects that could occur. They don't realize how hot their car could get," said Christi Fisher of Safe Kids Utah. "It's 80 degrees outside, nice day, but they don't realize how much that can heat up inside in just a matter of minutes."
Smith understands that. She lost two daughters when they were found dead with two of their cousins and a friend in the trunk of her car. The girls' ages ranged from 2 to 5.
"(It was) 45 minutes from the time we realized they were missing until the time they were found," she said of Audrey Cleo Smith, 2; Jaesha Lynn Smith, 4; Alisha Richardson, 6; Ashley Marie Richardson, 3; and McKell Shae Ann Hedden, 5.
"It's a very short time and it's mostly because their little bodies can't take the heat and their core body temperatures rise very rapidly," Smith said.
Every year, similar stories start being told and, every year, she speaks out about them. She has pushed for cars with interior trunk releases and hopes parents will come to understand how quickly things like this can happen.
"It always happened to somebody else," she said. "When you're somebody else, it's not a fun thing to go through at all. Just be mindful of the dangers of cars. Always lock your cars, make sure your trunk is locked. Keep your keys away from kids.
"It's much easier to take the five extra minutes to get the kids in and out of the car than it is to go through a lifetime without them."
More than the heat, kids and cars are just a bad combination, Fisher said. Kids can pass in front or behind cars or crawl through them and bump the vehicles into gear. Kids left unattended are also targets for kidnapping.
"It's not just the heat," Fisher said. "We just don't want those kids being left in the car for any amount of time, for any reason, any time of the year."
Contributing: Sandra Yi
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