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Firefighters’ demo shows dangers of hot cars

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On a partly sunny day with a high near 90, a firefighter and a state trooper in Indianapolis jumped in a squad car, rolled up the windows and shut off the ignition.

Wayne Township Fire Capt Mike Pruitt and Sgt. John Perrine with Indiana State Police locked themselves in a hot car last year.

They did it again on Friday as part of a demonstration of the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car.

After 34 minutes and temperatures of at least 120 degrees, Perrine and Pruitt jumped out of the squad car. 

“I feel weak; it drained all the moisture out of our bodies. It got sweat out; if we had been a child in that 
car we might not have survived.” said Pruitt. 

 The officers had an iPad to document what was going on in the car, but the high temperatures caused it to power off as well. 

“We don’t want any family to go through this again. We want to help people make good decisions and not forget that someone is still in the car when they get out,” said Pruitt. 

On Sunday, 3-year-old Hannah Miller died after being left in a hot car in Anderson for about two hours. 

Family members discovered the girl unresponsive inside a vehicle.

Pruitt said the fire department had scheduled the hot car demonstration to take place in July but decided to do it earlier after the child’s tragic death.

“If you forget and leave your child in the car, you will not forget that moment,” Pruitt said.

According to the National Safety Council, 37 children die each year due to pediatric vehicular heatstroke. Since 1998, 10 children have died in Indiana after being left in a hot car, according to council. 

The council has provided the following safety tips to keep in mind when traveling with children: 

  • Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute
  • Keep your car locked when you are not in it so kids don’t gain access
  • Create reminders by putting something in the back seat next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse, cell phone or your left shoe
  • If you see a child alone in a car, call 911
  • Set a calendar reminder on your electronic device to make sure you dropped your child off at daycare; develop a plan so you will be alerted if your child is late or a no-show