Hot car deaths: 1-year-old dies in Illinois, 2024 death toll climbs to 13

As much of the nation deals with sweltering conditions, officials are warning of the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot vehicles.

In the latest tragic incident being reported, a 1-year-old boy died after being left inside a vehicle in Fairfield, Illinois on Sunday, July 14. This is at least the thirteenth child to die in a hot car nationwide this year and the third death this week, according to Kids and Car Safety, which said three additional child fatalities are likely hot car deaths pending autopsy results.

A 2-month-old girl died after being left inside a vehicle in Lakewood, New Jersey on Monday. The vehicle was found parked outside a school around 2 p.m., according to New Jersey 101.5, which also reported the infant's father is being held at the Ocean County Jail on a charge of second-degree child endangerment. Later the same day, a toddler was pulled from a hot car outside an apartment in Monticello, New York and later died.

Last week a 5-year-old boy died after being left inside an SUV in Omaha, Nebraska on July 10. "Officers were called at 5:11 p.m. Wednesday to a beauty salon parking lot. Lt Neal Nonacci told the Omaha World-Herald that someone saw the boy and contacted police," The Associated Press reported.

An Arizona girl also died last week after she was found unresponsive in a hot car amid record-breaking temperatures in the state. The 2-year-old girl's father reportedly told police that he left her in the car with the air conditioner on. When he returned, the vehicle was off, and she was unresponsive, leading him to call 911, local affiliate Fox 19 reported.

The temperature inside a car parked in a sunny spot rockets to dangerous levels in minutes. The rate at which temperatures rise the fastest occurs within the first 10 minutes, according to Kids and Car Safety, an organization dedicated to preventing these tragedies.

Heatstroke can start when the body reaches a core temperature of 104 degrees. Death can occur at 107 degrees. Because a child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's, a hot car can quickly become dangerous. Dogs left in cars face the same risk; their only way to cool down is through sweat glands on their paws or by panting.

Hot car deaths continue to be a pressing concern across the country. Since 1990, at least 1,093 children have lost their lives after being left in vehicles, according to KidsAndCarSafety.org. An additional 7,500 children have survived with varying degrees of injuries. Nearly 90% of these victims are 3 years old or younger.

Kids and Car Safety is also monitoring three additional child fatalities pending autopsy results. The organization has tracked hot vehicle deaths for years and is pushing automakers to add more technology to prevent them.

For more resources on preventing hot car deaths visit the Kids and Car Safety website.