Heatstroke is the Main Cause of Death in Vehicles for Children Under 14 in the Past 20 Years

© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

An awful milestone was reached this past weekend.

Eight hundred children have died in hot cars since records began in 1998, according to NoHeatStroke.org.

The 800th child to die was a 4-year-old boy in St. Paul, Minnesota, who was found dead Saturday after he was left alone for hours in a hot SUV while his father was at work.

Dozens of small children will be dead by the end of the summer, baked to death inside a hot car, if past years are any guide.

On average, 38 children die while trapped in hot vehicles every year, according to Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Jose State University. Last year, a record 52 children died.

Null said that aside from crashes, heatstroke is the leading cause of death in vehicles for children 14 years old and younger.

Cars transform into ovens when direct sunlight heats objects inside. Temperatures can soar to 120 or 130 degrees even when the outdoor temperature is only in the 80s. The body’s natural cooling methods, such as sweating, begin to shut down once the core body temperature reaches 104 degrees. Death can occur at 107 degrees.

Children are particularly vulnerable because they have difficulty escaping a hot vehicle on their own, and their respiratory and circulatory systems can’t handle heat as well as adults.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice