HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - With the heat index climbing above the 100-degree mark in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee, medics with Horry County Fire Rescue are sending out a clear message to parents to not leave children alone inside an unattended car.
"On these type of days when you have the kind of heat index that we're having the direct sunlight of course, the inside of a vehicle that's closed up can become extraordinarily hot in a very short period of time," explained Matthew Smith, chief of medical operations for HCFR. "It would only take a matter of minutes, and we're not talking 10 or 15 minutes, we're talking three to five minutes with the vehicle turned off and the windows rolled up before the temperature inside really gets to the point where it would be uncomfortable."
Smith says in less than five minutes a normal healthy person could begin to lose a large volume of water through sweat in an overheated car. He says shortness of breath and unconsciousness could also occur.
"It can become fatal within a matter of minutes," he said. "Especially with children, their temperature rating mechanism is different than a mature adult so they should never be left in a vehicle unattended."