Safety alert: Child deaths from heat stroke in cars on the rise

Child deaths in vehicles from heat stroke.
Child deaths in vehicles from heat stroke.

For kids across America the family car is perhaps the most potentially lethal item found at home -- more dangerous than any toy or children's product.

Deaths of children from hyperthermia (heat stroke) are soaring. So far this year two dozen children across the country have died after being left or getting stuck in hot cars, according to a study by a meteorologist who teaches at San Francisco State University.

Meteorologist Jan Null has been tracking these deaths since 2001 since being questioned about how hot cars can get after a California infant died. Really hot -- about 20 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature within an hour, he said, enough to quickly overheat a small child. On a hot sunny day, a car interior's temperature can surpass 180 degrees.