Since the beginning of the year, at least eight children have died in the United States after being left in hot cars, according to the KidsandCars.org website.


While none of those deaths have occurred in Kansas, Leavenworth has had cases of children being left in hot vehicles in the past, according to Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens.


Kitchens said he believes people sometimes do not realize how quickly the inside of a car can heat up this time of year.


"It just doesn’t take very long," he said.


Kitchens said it can be a hassle to get children in and out of vehicles. But he said the risk of leaving a child in a car on a summer day is just too great.


Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths in the United States for children under the age of 14, with an average of 39 fatalities per year, according to AAA.


"Young children or pets should never be left alone in a vehicle under any circumstances," Shawn Steward, spokesman for AAA Kansas, said in a news release. "Make it a routine to look twice and check the back seat for children before you leave and lock the car."


According to AAA, on a 95-degree day, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 180 degrees.


TheKidsandCars.org website reports that the number of hot car deaths among children in the United States seems to be trending down this year, something the website attributes to the way the COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s routines including the transportation of children.


Recent warm and humid conditions are expected to continue into next week in the Leavenworth area, according to the National Weather Service.


Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR