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A demonstration through a partnership between the Black Mountain Fire Department, Safe Kids WNC and Mission Children's Hospital highlighted the dangers of leaving children in vehicles during the hot summer months.

 As temperatures reached nearly 90 degrees in the early days of July, a digital display raised awareness of just how quickly temperatures soar inside of a vehicle. 

The display took simultaneous readings of the temperature outside and inside of the department's pick-up truck in front of Ingles in Black Mountain on July 3 and at Town Square on July 5. The demonstration, which has appeared throughout the region this summer, brings awareness to a dangerous scenario, according to Vickie Killough, of Safe Kids and Mission Children's Hospital. 

"So far in the U.S. this year we've had 18 deaths related to children being left in hot cars," she said. "We had one in N.C. in May. People worry a lot about pets, but we've really been trying to push how to avoid these dangers with children."

In an effort to prevent deaths related to heat stroke, Safe Kids Worldwide, is encouraging people to use the acronym ACT. The prevention method focuses on avoiding those dangers by never leaving children unattended in a car, creating reminders and taking action. 

"A lot of times parents can be sleep deprived and out of their normal routine," Killough said. "If you are out of your normal routine, set up a reminder plan. So if you normally take your child to daycare at 9 a.m., if he or she isn't there by 9:30, call somebody."

Anyone who sees a child in a hot car should take action, she continued. 

"Act and do something, whether it's calling 911 or notifying someone," Killough said. "Don't turn the other way."

Dozens of people stopped to look at the readings each day. On Friday, while the temperature outside hovered around 85 degrees, the internal reading was above 156 degrees. 

"Normally when we hook this thing up, within minutes it's around the 114-degree mark," she said. "It only increases from there."

Most people are surprised by the temperatures displayed, Killough continued. 

"They don't realize how fast it happens," she said. "A lot of people wonder how someone could forget their child, but it happens. Last year there were 52 deaths nationwide from heatstroke suffered as a result of children being left in hot cars."

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