SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The death of a 3-year-old Shreveport girl from heat stroke after spending as many as 19 hours in her mother's parked car is a tragic reminder of the unforgiving combination of kids, cars and high temperatures.
A makeshift memorial now stands only feet away from where 3-year-old Sariah Delafosse's body was found on Friday.
As the family grieves their loss and police investigate the circumstances surround the child's death, Shreveport Fire Chief Louis Johnson hopes it will at least "raise awareness to heat safety and protecting children and making sure that we never ever leave them in those vehicles under those conditions."
Knowing the symptoms of heat conditions may also help you prevent a heat injury. "If a person becomes dizzy, nauseous, and it's from heat conditions, then you want to be very mindful and very careful with that because it can lead to heat stroke."
On average, 37 children die form being left in cars in the U.S. every year, according to a child safety web site. More than half of those deaths are the result a parent simply forgetting the child is even in the vehicle.
Kristi Morrison is a mom of three, and understands that miscommunication can lead to a forgotten child, "If the mom sticks the baby in the back of the car and reminds dad to take the baby to day care but the dad doesn't usually do it, dad can get in the car, drive to work, go inside, and not think about it, because the baby could easily fall asleep."
KSLA News 12 reporter Clay Ostarly conducted an experiment with a thermal imaging camera. Fixing the camera on an object outside of the car, showed a temperature of 91 degrees. Then he got into a parked car with the windows rolled up, and no air conditioning. He was able to stay in the car for almost 20 minutes before it became to hot to bear.
After getting out, the thermal camera zoomed registered over 150 degrees on the dashboard of the car. Fire Chief Johnson said even though one person may go 20 minutes without any major symptoms, someone else may only take a few minutes to begin to feel the effects. "The only absolute is that there are no absolutes."