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Tragic news has surfaced once again of a child dying of heatstroke in a locked car, this time claiming the life of a nine-month-old girl in Kuantan, the New Straits Times reported. It is a reminder of the dangers of leaving children unattended in a locked car; and no matter how little time you think that ‘quick errand’ will take, just don’t do it.

The victim’s father had left the car for lunch after dropping off his wife at her workplace, and had earlier dropped off their two elder daughters aged six and 10 at kindergarten and primary school respectively, said district police chief assistant commissioner Mohamad Noor Yusof Ali. The father was supposed to send the nine-month-old daughter to a nursery but instead drove straight to his workplace, he said.

“The victim was found lying motionless in the child seat in the back of the vehicle. She was rushed to a clinic where she was pronounced dead. The victim’s father was supposed to drop her off at a nursery in Indera Mahkota but it slipped his mind. She was left in the car for some four hours between 9am and 1pm,” the district police chief assistant commissioner said.

A video uploaded in 2015 by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) demonstrated just how dangerous heatstroke can be. Here, NFL player Tyrann Mathieu sat inside a car under direct sunlight to see just how long he could last in the heat. The professional athlete lasted just eight minutes before he had to make his escape, at which point the car’s interior was measured at 48.9 degrees Celsius.

A child’s body heats up much more quickly than an adults, leaving them more susceptible to the dangers associated with heatstroke, according to paediatric emergency experts. Fifteen minutes in a heated car interior could cause life-threatening brain or kidney injuries, and when the child’s body temperature reaches 40 degrees Celsius, internal organs shut down, and at 41.6 degrees Celsius, death could occur.

Unintended forgetfulness could be a likely factor in children being left behind in cars, and so it is crucial that the parent or guardian does their best to remember. One way is to place a required item in the rear seats with the child so that the driver has to retrieve it before leaving the vehicle. Passersby, if you’ve spotted a child or a pet left alone in a parked vehicle, you should call the police immediately.