Recently, a two-year old girl died after she was left inside a car at an open-air college parking lot. According to a report by The Star, the child’s death was believed to be caused by heatstroke.

“She only realised that her child was still in the car at around 1pm. When she rushed to the vehicle, the victim was already unconscious,” said Port Dickson OCPD Supt Zainduin Ahmad. He added that preliminary investigations revealed that the mother, a lecturer at the college, left her child in the car at the parking lot for four hours.

Such an unwanted incident (among many others) is a reminder of the dangers of leaving children in the car unattended with the door locked. Put simply, DON’T DO IT, not for anything, even if it is just for a quick errand that you think will only “take a few minutes.”

Heatstroke is a serious matter, more so in a country like ours where ambient temperatures can soar to the high thirties. If you’ve ever returned to your car that has been parked under the sun for a few hours, you’re well aware of just how much hotter it can be inside a car.

In 2015, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) uploaded a video that demonstrated just how dangerous heatstroke can be. In the video, NFL player, Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals, sat inside a car to see how long he can last under the blazing heat. It only took a professional athlete eight minutes to barge his way out of the car, after the car’s interior temperature rose to a scary 48.9 degrees Celsius.

As a child’s body heats up much faster than an adult’s, according to paediatric emergency experts, that leaves them more susceptible to the dangers associated with heatstroke. Just 15 minutes being stuck in an overheated car interior could cause a child to suffer life-threatening brain or kidney injuries. When a child’s body temperature hits 40 degrees Celsius, internal organs shut down, and at 41.6 degrees Celsius, the child could die.

Unintended forgetfulness is a likely factor for little ones being left in a car, so it is imperative to try our very best to remember. Other methods to ensure that we don’t forget include placing an item at the rear with the child like handbag or phone so you have to check the back when you leave the car. To passersbys, if you spot a child (or pet) left in a car alone, you should call the police immediately.