Consumer Reports: Risk to children in hot cars could increase due to coronavirus, experts warn

On average, 39 children in the U.S. die of heatstroke each year after being left in a hot car. And this year, because of coronavirus, the risk may be even higher.

Consumer Reports has more on this potential danger.

The first child to die of heatstroke in a car in 2020 was a 4-year-old boy on April 25, who apparently snuck outside and into the family car unnoticed.

Even on days with mild temperatures, the heat inside a vehicle can reach dangerous levels within an hour, posing significant health risks to small children or pets left inside.

"Because everyone's home more often than usual, parents need to make sure that their keys are always out of reach of little hands and that their vehicles are locked at all times," said Emily Thomas, PhD. Of Consumer Reports.

Restrictions at some stores may tempt some parents to leave their child in the car to decrease the child's risk of exposure to COVID-19 while they shop.

But, even with the window cracked or the vehicle parked in the shade, the interior temperatures within the car can reach dangerous levels in a short period of time.

"Children's bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults," Thomas said. "That's why it's never safe for them to be left unattended inside of a closed vehicle. It doesn't matter if you're parked in the shade, or if you've left the window cracked, or even if you think it's not that hot out. It effects them differently and it's never safe."

Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Pediatrics remind parents to always check their pool and car first if a child is missing.

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