North Texas Officer Shows Hot Car Dangers

The hot-car deaths of children are tragedies that happen every summer, and Texas has led the nation in the number of such fatalities for the past two decades.

Now, one North Texas police officer is demonstrating just how fast the temperature inside a vehicle rises to a dangerous level.

Cpl. Jessie Peterson, of the Highland Village Police Department, posted a video to YouTube of himself sitting inside his parked patrol car for 30 minutes, noting the passing time and the discomfort he was quickly feeling.

Within just a few minutes, Peterson was sweating and turning flush.

"I didn't expect it to be so bad, because I'm getting in and out of my car all the time when it's hot, but right around the 15-minute mark it started hitting me," Peterson said later.

At the 30-minute mark, he said his breathing was labored, and he needed to get out of the car to recover.

Peterson said he was inspired to post the video after seeing news reports of children dying after being locked inside hot cars. When the temperature outside nears 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car without air conditioning can reach as high as 170 degrees in a short time.

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Doctors Warn Against Trying Hot Car Challenge

Peterson is a law enforcement official, but now there is video after video of other people filming themselves inside their hot cars without emergency crews standing by.

These are becoming more frequent on YouTube, and while some people say they are doing it to raise awareness, a North Texas doctor tells NBC 5 this is very dangerous.

“There is much better ways to raise awareness rather than exposing yourself to harmful things, not only exposing themselves to high temperatures but also seeing how long they can do it,” said Dr. Pike Roper, of Texas Health HEB.

Peterson agrees that other people should not put their health and safety in danger to test the temperature inside their vehicle.

“When I did it, I was in a police department parking lot. We have officers coming in and out. I was in a safe location,” said Peterson.

He said viewers need to take his message as a warning, and that’s it.

“I was able to do something like that to put it out there for other people to learn from. Individuals on their own, I would highly recommend for them not to do it,” he said.

Dr. Roper says heat-related injuries can cause multi-organ failures, seizures and hallucinations, and he adds this dangerous stunt is simply not something anyone should do by choice.

NBC 5 reporters Johnny Archer, Julie Fine and Amanda Guerra contributed to this report.

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