With temperatures soaring across Georgia, national highway safety officials were in Macon on Monday to warn about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars.
Since 1998, 20 Georgia children have died of heat stroke in a car. Nationwide, eight died in the first week of August alone, establishing a new record. National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland says it's the top vehicular killer of children under 12.
"Think of that, it's number one. And frankly it's 100 percent preventable," Strickland said.
Temperatures inside a parked car can become deadly in minutes. At a demonstration outside the Medical Center of Central Georgia, the exterior temperature read 87 degrees while the temperature inside a car was 132.
Jenny Stanley of Evans, Georgia spoke to reporters about the death of her 6-year-old daughter, Sydney.
"Please never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a second," Stanley implored through tears. "'Cause I can tell a hundred percent, it is not worth it."
In Stanley's case, her daughter got herself into the vehicle while no adult was around — in 30 percent of cases, kids get into the car on their own. That's why Strickland says it's vital for parents to lock unattended vehicles.
To keep from leaving a child behind, Strickland recommends placing a necessary item in the seat with the child, such as a cell phone or briefcase.