Don’t lock your kids in the car

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, June 14, 2017
West Liberty Police Chief Kary Kinmonth put his life on the line Tuesday, June 13, in order to show the dangers of leaving children in motor vehicles on hot days.

“It’s been 90 plus degrees for the last few days and it isn’t even officially summer,” commented the chief as he prepared himself to sit inside West Liberty’s dark black police truck.

“You just don’t realize how hot or how quickly things go downhill,” he added. “Your body temperature is around 98 or 99 degree. Once you hit 104 you’re in dire trouble, at 107 you are done.”

According to, since 2010, an average of 37 children die per year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles. There have already been 12 reported cases in 2017.

Chief Kinmonth, a relatively big guy with a “show me” attitude, wanted to give a first-hand example of just how dangerous being locked in a hot car can be.

The procedure was simple. With the sun blazing down on a 95 degree day, he stepped inside the police truck, closed the door and sat down without any sort of air conditioning at all.

The West Liberty Emergency Department was on hand. Before he started, the crew clocked the chief’s body temperature at 99 degrees, meanwhile the inside of the truck was 100 degrees.

But that all changed quickly according to the giant white thermometer Chief Kinmonth pushed up to the inside of the window in order to let the public see how hot it was inside the truck.

Within three minutes the truck was 116 degrees. In 6 minutes it was 122 degrees. Around the ten minute mark the mercury inside the gauge couldn’t rise any higher.

That’s when Chief Kinmonth tapped out. Somewhat dazed and confused, covered in sweat, he opened the door, chugged a bottle of water and retreated to the ambulance to cool off.

“I was definitely light-headed,” Chief Kinmonth told the media after finally starting to talk clearly again. “I was in the truck 10 minutes, and I tell you what, the four or five minute mark was more than enough.”

In the end, it barely took any time at all for the inside of the truck to heat up and force a man with 25 years of experience in the police force to sound the retreat.

In fact, West Liberty Fire Chief Kirt Sickels was unable to take a final reading of the Chief’s temperature when he exited the truck, it was just that hot.

“We’ve had calls with extreme heat,” said Chief Sickels of the fire and emergency department. “It’s something that, if we come across somebody in a vehicle we’d be trying to get in any way we could.”

“When you stop sweating your body temperature is probably well above 106 or 108 degrees, when the temperature’s that high, it starts burning brain cells,” he said.

Chief Sickels stated the department has had experiences where bodies have reached 118 or 120 degrees. Not good, when 108 is about the most the human body can take.

“I was thinking about that child, probably strapped to the seat, not even having the energy to cry or make noise,” said Police Chief Kary Kinmonth about his time in the truck.

“These are all my kids out there when you think about it,” he said. “People make some bad choices too, it isn’t just about forgetting sometimes… shame on them.”
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