NORTH COVENTRY, Conn. (WTNH) — Congressman Joe Courtney and two others sit in a hot car to make a point.
When he along with state Rep. Doug Dubitsky and Coventry resident Micah Welintukonis first got in the car it was 80 degrees.
In just two minutes the temperature rose 12 degrees. Welintukonis organized the demonstration.
“Yesterday there were two twins I believe they were 15-month-old little girls,” says Welintukonis. “They died in Georgia from somebody forgetting.”
He endured the heat to remind people to remember their children and pets and not to ever leave them in a hot car.
“It’s gone up 20 degrees in 8 minutes,” one person yelled out as the trio sat in the car parked outside the Fire Station in North Coventry.
After 15 minutes it was 28 degrees hotter than when they got in. The congressman was the first to get out.
“If you were trapped in that heat that would be terrifying,” says Rep. Courtney.
“I take him out. Every time I get out of the car he’s with me,” says Tommy Mortimer of Norwich.
He even uses his automatic car starter to cool down the car before his son Aiden gets in.
A child’s body temperature can quickly get up to 104 degrees if left in a hot car.
“You will often have vomiting and then you get the neurological symptoms of the seizures, the coma, and hallucinations, severe headache,” explains Dr. Nate Siegel who works in emergency services at Backus Hospital.
“54 percent of the time the child is left forgotten in the car,” says Gary Lupidus a Physician Assistant with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “Half of those times on the way to a daycare center.”
“It was really good when they said put your cell phone in the back seat or your laptop or something so that you remember to get them out,” says Dorothy Grady of Coventry.
“If you’re walking by a car you see a child or you see a dog, getting them out of that environment and cooling them off as quick as you can,” says Ann Brierley, the EMS supervisor with Coventry Volunteer Fire Department.
The difference between him sitting in a hot car and a young child is that he can ask for help. He can get out if it gets too hot. A very young child in a car seat can’t.