VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The feel-like triple-digit temperatures we have been experiencing in many of our local counties can be dangerous for anyone.
It can be especially dangerous if a child gets left in a vehicle unattended.
According to the National Safety Council, over 900 children have died from vehicular heat stroke since 1998. That averages out to about 38 deaths per year.
Sheriff John Plasse with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office said whether you are out running errands and will only be gone for just a few minutes, or a few hours, you should never leave your child unattended in the car.
With the summer heat in full swing, the temperature in the car can rise in minutes.
Plasse said this can lead to consequences far past just legal ramifications.
“The worst thing is their kid suffers a health issue or unfortunately even dies from that. There’s nothing we can do that would compare to the loss that they have but we can definitely get them for neglect of a dependent, child endangerment, just so many things,” Plasse said.
Plasse explained that even leaving a child in the car with it running can be just as dangerous.
“Even if you have your car running, it’s not smart to leave anybody unattended in a car. Someone could break into that car and take the car with them in it but if the car quit running and you weren’t there to attend that, you don’t know that and they’re not going to have any air and they’re going to succumb to that heat in a matter of minutes,” Plasse said.
Fortunately, Plasse said this is an issue that Vigo County Sheriff does not encounter too often.
However, he urges people to contact their local police agency immediately if they ever see a child left in a car unattended.