County officials remind public not to leave unattended kids and - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

County officials remind public not to leave unattended kids and pets inside vehicles

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County officials reminded the public not to leave children and pets inside vehicles unattended, even for a short period of time, because temperatures can rapidly increase, risking hypothermia and heat exhaustion which can lead to organ failure or death.

An infant left inside a car can die in as little as 15 minutes, even on a mild day, according to KidsAndCars.org.

"Even if you, as an adult, think it's a mild day temperature wise, it's not the same for a child, especially an infant," said San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten.

"A child can not regulate their body temperature as an adult can, and their core body temperature rises three to five times faster that an adult."

Children absorb heat faster than adults and don't sweat as efficiently. When a child's body temperature reaches 104 degrees the internal organs begin to shut down and a temperature of 107 degrees is fatal.

Symptoms of heatstroke include red, hot and dry skin without visible sweating, a rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, confusion and unconsciousness, Wooten said.

Nationwide, more than 600 children have died from being left in cars since 1990.

"Most parents think this could never happen to them," said Nick Macchione, director of the county's Health and Human Services Agency. "But horrific tragedies can happen in a matter of moments - that's all it takes."

County officials recommended calling 911 if a child is left alone in a vehicle, always checking the car seat and placing an important item with the child or another reminder on the front seat.

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