AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - A South Carolina man's Walmart run turned into a child abuse investigation after authorities with Aiken Public Safety determined he left his children in a hot vehicle.
According to the report, Public Safety Officer Davis noticed five children sweating inside a transit van at the Walmart on Richland Avenue.
Their dad, 48-year-old Andre Walker, had gone inside the garden center to purchase mulch. The children, all under the age of 10, were left unattended in nearly 90-degree heat for about 30 minutes, according to the report.
Walker turned himself in the day after the incident and was charged with child abuse/neglect.
Children's Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Emergency Physician Dr. Debbie Huang said kids can die inside a vehicle when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees because of the heat index - how hot it feels.
Temperatures in cars actually go up by 20 degrees every 10 minutes that a child is left in a car, according to Dr. Huang.
"If the temperatures outside, like Augusta summers are, it could be in the 90s. In about 10 minutes it could be about 110 degrees," said Dr. Huang.
Dr. Huang said kids' body temperatures increase 3 to 5 times faster than an adult would.
According to the Aiken Public Safety's incident report, the children were sweating when the officer approached them. When asked if they were hot, they all said "yes".
Sweating, headaches and confusion are just a few signs that it's just too hot for kids. The heat could even cause more serious health issues, like coma and unconsciousness. Dr. Huang has seen kids with those symptoms in the ER at Children's Hospital.
The officer noticed two of the boys were wearing long-sleeved shirts and jeans, according to the report. Dressing in loose-fitting clothes can help keep you cool.
"You can do tank tops and you can do shorts but you also have to do sunblock, too because you don't want to have to worry about sunburns," said Dr. Huang.
If the worst does happen, you want to be able to properly treat a child that's been left inside a scorching vehicle. First, call 9-1-1. Then, spray them with cool, not cold, fluids.
"The problem with cold fluids is they'll start shivering and that actually increases your body temperature. You want cool mists. You don't wanna put ice packs on them 'cuz that'll make them shiver and that will increase their body's core temperature, explained Dr. Huang.
On average, 37 children die each year after being left in hot vehicles, according to KidsandCars.org. Even if it's not that hot to you, the heat could be deadly for your kids.