As temperatures rose into triple-digit numbers across the nation last week, so did the warnings about leaving children in hot vehicles.
It's a tragedy that occurs every year but can easily be prevented, said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.
Two years ago, 50 children were killed from heat exhaustion while being left inside a vehicle, Carr said. The number dropped to 33 last year, but it's a number Carr wants to see go down to zero.
"It's a totally preventable injury," Carr said. "So far this year, six children have been killed. That's six too many."
Carr said over half of the fatalities occur when a parent accidentally leaves a child in the car doing something that isn't part of their daily routine.
"A lot of people say, 'How could that happen?' When your day has changed somewhat, your brain locks into the normal routine, and they forget," Carr said.
Depending on the state and the situation, parents and caregivers can be charged with child endangerment and manslaughter, even if the kids are left unintentionally.
An Associated Press 10-year analysis showed that in the 310 fatalities that occurred from children dying from hyperthermia after being trapped in a vehicle, charges are filed in half the cases.
Sometimes parents intentionally leave their children in the car to run a quick errand. But in the heat waves the country's been seeing recently, a car's temperature in an asphalt parking lot can climb 20 degrees every 10 minutes.
In addition to the quickly rising heat, children's bodies heat up much faster than an adult's, Carr said. Children's internal systems are not fully developed, so they don't sweat as much and absorb heat faster.
Carr said that once the child's body temperature reaches 104 degrees, their internal organs begin to shut down. At 107 degrees, a child dies.
Safe Kids Worldwide launched a campaign that passes on the message to parents to never leave children alone in the car, not even for a minute. Parents and caregivers should be mindful that it's not just an issue for states with typical warm climates, or for the summer months of June, July and August. These fatalities are recorded 11 months of the year in almost every single state, Carr said.
"This is something to be aware of all the time," she said.
Fresh cold air will slash temperatures and bring another dose of wintry weather to the Southeast later this week with widespread travel problems.
Innovations to the heating/cooling industries have inspired cost-effective and efficient methods to regulate temperatures.
Yet another winter storm will take aim at the Northeast and Midwest this week with some snow, but also significant problems due to flooding and ice.
February 2015 has come to an end with numerous monthly records set across the United States.
A storm rolling out of the Southwest will spread a swath of heavy snow and travel disruptions from the Rockies to the northern Plains and Upper Midwest early this week.
The Seattle area will be basking in sunny, dry skies for most of the week as temperatures stay near seasonable averages.
Santa Monica, CA (1983)
Several hundred feet of the Santa Monica pier was destroyed by a major storm that hit California.
Eastern Canada (1990)
Worst ice jam in a decade on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Twenty-two ships were trapped between Cape Breton and Newfoundland. Coast Guard ice breakers broke through ice to 7 meters (23 feet) thick to lead the ships to open water.
The East (1991)
Record warmth for the second day in a row. Records included: Location Old Record New Record Pittsburgh, PA 74 68/1976 Youngstown, OH 71 67/1976 Buffalo, NY 66 53/1923 Scranton, PA 68 66/1972 Albany, NY 65 59/1972 Erie, PA 70 58/1887 Charleston, WV 81* 79/1976 *warmest ever for so early in the season