Terry Bartley’s ‘hot car challenge’ aims to prevent more child deaths

Terry Bartley sat in a hot car to raise awareness of hot car deaths.

A North Carolina man who endured 40 C heat in a locked car is being praised for using social media to raise awareness of the damaging effects of leaving kids in a hot car.

“I want to know how it feels to be left in the car, sitting in the back seat, strapped into a car seat with the windows up and doors probably locked,” Terry Bartley says in the YouTube video clip. "This is wrong, man."

Bartley shot the video from his car, parked in a Greensboro, North Carolina parking lot. The temperature outside was about 32 C, but the temperatures inside a car can increase to 50 C in just minutes.

"This is not a game, this is serious," Bartley said.

Bartley was motivated to take the "hot car challenge" after reading about the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris just days earlier. Cooper died after being left in an SUV for nine hours on a 30 C day. His father, Justin Ross Harris, has been charged with felony murder and cruelty to a child.

By his own admission in the video, Bartley says he could "barely breathe."

"I was losing air, it was like I was sitting in a microwave cooking," Bartley told ABC News Sunday. "I could have easily took my shirt and wiped my face and wringed it out."

Each year about 30 children die of heat stroke after being left in cars in the United States. In 2013, there were as many as eight deaths in Canada attributed to hot cars.

Bartley's act has inspired a number of imitators on YouTube, but he's also raised awareness. His video has been viewed over 1.3 million times.

If it's able to prevent just one hot car death, it's well worth it.

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