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Malaysia was saddened last week by the news of yet another child who died from heat stroke after being left in a car. The three-year old girl was found dead in a school in Subang Jaya, soaked with sweat after spending five hours in a car.

You may think five hours is a long time, and that’s why it happened, but did you know that it can take as little as 15 minutes stuck in an overheated car interior for a child to suffer life-threatening brain or kidney injuries?

According to NBC News, which quotes paediatric emergency experts, a child’s body can heat up much faster than an adult’s. When a child’s body temperature hits 40 degrees Celsius, internal organs shut down, and at 41.6 degrees Celsius, the child could die.

According to Ahmad Mahyuddin Mohamed, Orthopedic and Traumatology consultant at Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital in Temerloh, there’s no guarantee that a heat stroke can be prevented with slightly opened windows and leaving the air conditioner on in a static car. Children shouldn’t be left alone in a car even for a minute. The heat can cause sweating, dehydration, seizures, brain and organ damage, and eventually death.

Just watch the video below to see what happens when a busy mother leaves her young son in a car. The video is said to be a re-enactment, and the child is an unharmed actor, but what happens can be very real.

The mother in the video looks completely normal, and her routine could mirror that of any one of us. Yes, it could happen to any one of us. According to statistics in the US, only about 10% of child heat stroke-related deaths involve neglect or substance abuse by the caretaker.

A majority of the cases occur when loving parents get distracted from their routine and they don’t realise that the child was in such a position, which was exactly what happened in Subang Jaya. The mother forgot to drop the child off at the daycare as she was rushing for a meeting.

Our busy schedules, combined with the tendency for us to seat our sleeping children in the rear of our cars (because that’s where the child seat is usually mounted), could cause us to forget that we are carrying precious cargo in our car cabins. We could potentially go about our routine and leave our kids locked in the car.

Other than trying our very best to remember, other methods we can use to ensure that we don’t forget about our sleeping babies is to place an item (that you need to take with you when you leave your car) at the rear with the child. This could be your handbag, for example, and you can place it on the floor in a secure area just so you are forced to go to the back of the car when you leave.

To passersbys, if you spot a child left in a car alone, you should call the police immediately. If you watched the video, you’d know that the child in the video was saved by passersbys.

You can also share this story or the embedded YouTube video on your Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms to get the word out. You might just save a life.