The Kentucky State Police is renewing its plea for parents to be extremely cautious about leaving their children in hot cars. Statistics show hot car deaths are on the rise all over the country; they were up 21 percent last year. 

According to the safety organization Kids and Cars, 52 children died in 2018 in the United States of hyperthermia as a result of being left in a hot car, three of those deaths were in Kentucky.

Since 1998, there have been 25 child-related vehicular heatstroke deaths in the Commonwealth. The instances include a child being forgotten in a car, he or she accidentally locked themselves in or, in a small number of cases, the child was left in the car intentionally.

KSP spokesman Sgt. Josh Lawson says vehicular heatstroke is often misunderstood by the general public because a majority of parents are misinformed and they would like to believe that they could never "forget" their child in a vehicle. It's a dangerous mistake.

Lawson adds a child's body heats up three to five times faster than that of an adult and the temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. Depending on the circumstance, an infant could die of hyperthermia in just 15 minutes on a 75-degree day. A curious child can be playing outside and maybe end up in a car and lock themselves in. Lawson says "in the extreme summer heat, a child can become incapacitated in a very short time."

"Bryan's Law" was passed in Kentucky in 2000 which makes a person liable for second-degree manslaughter or first-degree wanton endangerment for leaving a child younger than 8 in a motor vehicle where circumstances pose a grave risk of death. The law was named after 11-month old Bryan Puckett, who died July 13, 1999, after being left in a hot car by his babysitter.

HERE are a map and statistics of hot car deaths of children 14 and younger, 1990-2018.

KSP asks citizens to keep an eye out for children left in vehicles on hot days and call 911 immediately if they see an unaccompanied child in distress.

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