Temperature Inside Vehicle Rises Quickly

Dr. Nadine Salle
Dr. Nadine Salle

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The three-year old Honolulu girl who died after being locked in a car for about 90-minutes suffered the effects of extreme heat. That's according to the medical examiner, who calls the case an accident.

Many parents admit it's something they've done before, so we wanted to find out just how bad it really gets.

We parked our SUV at Ala Moana Beach Park, and sat inside the car for about 15 minutes. The temperature starts in the 80's, but after a few minutes it quickly hits 100-degrees. It almost reaches 110-degrees at the end of our experiment.

It feels like being in an oven. Doctors say the effects are worse for children.

"When the temperature reaches about 104 degrees, they'll easily go into a coma, convulsions, and eventually death," said Dr. Nadine Salle, pediatrician at the Queens Medical Center.

"This is something so easily preventable," said Salle. "If a parent or child care giver understands how easily a car can get hot, you just do not leave a child in a car."

State representative Marilyn Lee introduced a bill this legislative session specifically to try and prevent this. The proposal says people could be fined up to $500 for leaving a child unattended in a car.

"We just don't wanna see children injured or fatally injured by this kind of an accident," said Lee.

This is the fifth time she's introduced the bill, and hopes it passes this session.

"It's further than common sense," said Lee. "(Parents) have the responsibility of guiding and protecting that child until that child is able to care for itself."

A child advocacy group found that last year, 29 children in the US died from being left in a hot cars.

Honolulu police say at this point, the father in last weekend's incident will not be arrested, because they say there was no criminal intent.