BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - You've heard it before – it only takes a minute to suffer from the effects a hot car. Despite the warnings, emergency responders in East Baton Rouge Parish are working an alarming number of calls related to children locked in cars.
Since May 1, emergency crews have responded to 83 calls for children locked in cars.
"Certainly that number is concerning," said Curt Monte, public information officer for the Baton Rouge Fire Department. "Obviously, we may not have been necessary on every call, but what the numbers do say is that as parents, as people, we need to stop, slow down, and not become complacent when it comes to our children. We all want the best for our children, but we at times, we all get caught up in the moments."
"Those numbers are shocking," adds Mike Chustz, public information officer for Baton Rouge EMS. "I was surprised to hear that it was that many."
EMS workers were not dispatched to all of the reported calls, but have worked many.
"It's stressful dealing with cases where a child is injured," Chustz said, "especially when it's something easily preventable."
With a heat index that has reached triple digits in recent weeks, hot cars are more than just a nuisance, they can have deadly consequences.
"A lot of bad things can happen from leaving a child in a car," Chustz noted. "If you're in the car today, if it's not running, it's going to reach 130 degrees very quickly, and that temperature can be fatal to an infant or child in a minute."
Signs of distress from the heat include perfuse sweating, shortness of breath, and an increased heart rate.
"We highly recommend people never leave a child in a vehicle. Even if you leave the car running, a toddler can unlock a seatbelt and climb around in the car. Even if you think you'll only be a minute, don't leave the child in the car alone," Chustz.
Although many of the calls emergency responders work are minor incidents, they encourage everyone to remain vigilant.