TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A three-year-old died in what officials are calling an accident.
The Terre Haute Police Department says they were called to the Vectren parking lot Friday afternoon.
When they got there, they found a three-year-old boy in the back seat of his dad's pick-up truck.
The boy's dad told police he didn't realize his son was in the truck. He said he's usually dropped off at a nearby daycare.
Kids in hot cars is a serious issue, WANE's sister station WTHI reports.
We talked with a local expert and police about how these accidents happen and just how serious they can be.
"These vehicles are basically portable ovens," said Captain John Moats, Vigo County Sheriff's Department.
180 to 200 degrees. That's how hot a vehicle gets on the inside, depending on the heat outside.
"It doesn't have to be 80, 90 degrees out to make it a danger. It can be in the mid-seventies. The interior of that vehicle could potentially raise 40 to 50 degrees. So it doesn't have to be a 100 degree day for it to be dangerous," said Captain Moats.
No matter the temperature, experts say accidents happen more often than you might think.
"People will say, well, there's no way I'd forget my kid was in the back seat of the car. Well, that's not true, 'cause you do," said Julie Wheatley, Safe Kids program coordinator.
Wheatley said it's easy to get distracted as a parent.
But she did offer a few tips to help remember it all.
"Keep something in the back seat with your child. Your purse, your cell phone, your gym bag, your office keys. Something so you have to get in that back seat before you go in," said Wheatley.
The most recent incidents offers a chilling reminder to parents everywhere about the needs of little ones.
"They can't fend for themselves. They can't get out by themselves if they're strapped in that car seat, there's nothing they can do to get out," said Wheatley.
If you notice a child or even a pet or adult in a closed or hot vehicle, officers say to check inside the building first to see if the owner can be found.
If they can't be found, contact authorities immediately.
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