GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- So far in 2013 already 23 children have died from being left alone in an unattended vehicle. Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children and officials say it's important to never leave your child alone in a car even if it's just for a few minutes.
With summer's hot temperatures it's important for parents to be reminded this time of year about the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car.
We all can feel the heat outside, but in a car that heat is magnified. On a 75 degree day the interior of a car can reach over 100 degrees in about a half-hour. Experts say parents may sometimes be unaware of just how dangerous a car can become for a small child.
The Mesa County Health Department says children are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness and should never be left behind in a vehicle.
“A child's body temperatures rises three to five times faster than an adult's body temperature," said Tamara Capp of The Mesa County Health Department.
And officials say children dying from heatstroke when are they in a vehicle is death that can be avoided.
“These can be prevented so the message really is here, never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle and that is again, regardless if a window is cracked," said Capp.
Another reason young children should not be left alone unattended in cars is because they may hurt themselves. This week in Aurora, a mother left five children in a car running outside her home, when she returned her two-year-old daughter's head was caught between the window and the frame. She's now on life support and in critical condition.
Officials also say leaving a pet inside a car is also deadly.