LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Fire officials are seeking to raise public awareness about heat-related deaths in Los Angeles County amid a late summer heat wave.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports the Los Angeles Fire Department and Safe Kids Los Angeles County say one child has died in the U.S. every week since January from being left alone in a vehicle.
So far in 2013, 37 children have died from hyperthermia nationwide. California had not had a childhood death since 2010 until this year, when three children — including one in the Los Angeles area — died from hypothermia-related causes.
Since 1998, 598 children in the United States have died from being left alone in motor vehicles, according to officials.
LAFD Capt. Jaime Moore said most of the time adults simply forget there’s a child in the back seat — an occurrence that officials say can be prevented by simply placing a stuffed animal, purse, cell phone, or briefcase on the floor behind you.
“Create some kind of reminder that causes you to go to the back of your car and make sure that that child is not left in that car seat,” Moore said.
The warnings come following the death of a 5-month-old boy who was found dead Sept. 9 wrapped up in a blanket and strapped to a car seat inside his family’s SUV in Carson.
Police believe the baby could have been in the Chevy Tahoe for about seven hours.
Police urge anyone who sees a child left alone in a vehicle to call 911 immediately.