McLeod Safe Kids works to raise hyperthermia awareness

McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal held a demonstration outside Target in Florence Wednesday to raise awareness on child deaths due to hyperthermia after being left in hot cars.

Health officials set up a 6-feet-tall thermometer to display the temperatures outside and the inside the car.

The temp outside was 86.6 degrees while the temperature inside the car registered at nearly 95 degrees.

"A child's body temperature actually heats up four times faster than an adult. Not to mention we've got a breeze going right now and the car, there is no breeze," said Ashley Costas with McLeod Safe Kids.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hyperthermia is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of 14.

This year, 24 kids in the United States have died from hyperthermia due to being left in hot cars.

South Carolina hasn't seen any deaths this year.

"August and September are known as record breakers here in the South. We haven't seen any here in South Carolina and I really hope that that's stays the case. We're hoping that we're not going to see any children's deaths this year because it's 100% preventable," Costas explained.

Ken Grooms says he makes it a point to never leave his small children inside a car no matter the temperature.

Grooms worked as a paramedic for many years and says he's seen first hand what can happen when children are left inside a hot car even for just a few minutes.

"As a former paramedic, it's kind bad when you go up and you have to transport a child that's been locked up in a car like that and overheated. It's hard to get them cooled off," said Grooms.

McLeod Safe Kids says there have been cases in this country parents forgot their child was in the car and the child died of hyperthermia.

They suggest parents need to set reminders for themselves.

"Always putting something like your purse or you cell phone in the back seat. So that you're not going to forget your child in the back seat. Putting their favorite stuffed animal in the seat beside you," said Costas.

You can log onto to learn more information about hyperthermia.

McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is funded in part by McLeod Health Foundation.