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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Children die in a scorching-car tragedy

Samantha Harper, 25, is facing two counts of especially aggravated child abuse in the deaths of her children, aged two and three, on August 2. Police found them lying beside a parked car near their home in Smyrna, Tennessee.  Police spokesman Sgt. Bobby Gibson said “It appears the children suffered heat stroke, that they may have been trapped inside the vehicle,” he said. “Their mother put them in the car. We have no idea how long they were left inside.”

Someone had pulled the children from the car before police arrived, but Gibson didn’t release any information about that person, citing the ongoing investigation.

The high temperature on Thursday was 99 degrees in Smyrna. “Even with the windows down, it could easily hit 120 degrees inside a car on a day like today,” Boyd said. “With the windows up, I’d hate to even think about it. It would be much higher … between 140 and 150 degrees.”

It doesn’t take long for a car to heat up, said Janette Fennell, founder and president of the Kansas-based, an organization aimed at keeping kids safe in and around motor vehicles.

“In 20 minutes, that car’s temperature could have spiked 20 degrees,” she said. “Children up to the age of 10 have immature respiratory systems. They heat up three to five times faster than an adult and they do not have the ability to dissipate the heat very quickly. Once their body temperature reaches 106 degrees, the internal organs begin shutting down,” she said. How fast death comes depends on a number of factors, including how much clothing the child is wearing, the color of the car and the last time the child had water, she said.

(info from The Tennessean