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Child rescued after left in hot car in downtown N.O. parking lot

Doctors say there are nine deaths a day in the country relating to children left in hot cars.

Louisiana has the highest number of deaths, per capita, when it comes to children dying in hot cars.

Just days ago in a downtown parking lot, there was a scary situation for a woman and toddler.

"After she strapped the child in, the keys were still sitting on the seat. She accidentally pushed the button and locked the door and locked her own granddaughter in the car," said Ken Bouvier, the Deputy Chief of New Orleans EMS, who responded to the scene.

Unable to break the window, she flagged down a couple, who flagged down an NOPD officer, who broke the window.

"In just 10 to 15 minutes, the child was struggling, was red and sweaty, and a little lethargic, like slow to respond. She was awfully hot," he recalls.

Consider what happens in a closed car. In just 10 minutes, the temperature inside rises to 20 degrees higher than the outdoors. In 20 minutes, it's 30 degrees hotter inside, and in one hour, the mercury climbs to a scalding 40 degrees hotter than the temperature outdoors. The thermometer Eyewitness News put in the car, climbed at that exact rate. Children have organ failure faster, because their skin is thinner, metabolism is faster, and they don't sweat as efficiently as a conditioned adult.

"You can become disoriented. You can actually have neurologic deficits like a stroke," explained Dr. Keith Van Meter, the Section Head of Emergency Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.

Because 58 percent of the cases are unintentional, like when adults change their routine and forget the child in the back car seat, newer cars now have built in warnings on the dashboard. But you can leave your shoes in the back next to the car seat as a reminder. EMS says if it happens, don't hesitate. Break the window in a corner with a cell phone or shoe heel.

"Don't try with a coat hanger or Slim Jim. Break the window and get that child out," said Bouvier.

Because time is precious.

"In the country, there are nine deaths per day ," said Dr. Van Meter, about children in hot cars.

EMS says never use ice or cold water on a rescued child. Take off the clothes and put cool compresses on the head, neck, underarms, groin area, and back of the knees.

Also, always lock your car because 28 percent of the incidences happen when children accidentally get in a car on their own to play, and don't know how to get out.

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