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2018 was the worst year in US history for hot car deaths

Four children in Virginia died of vehicular heatstroke last year

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(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

More children died in hot cars last year than ever before in our nation's history. 

The cause of death for two Missouri girls who died last summer has just been confirmed as heatstroke, bringing the year's total number of children who died in hot cars to 51. The children who died last year ranged in age from one month old to five years old. 

Four of those children died in Virginia. 

An average of 38 children die every year from vehicular heatstroke, according to KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit that aims to prevent such deaths. The previous record was 49 children in 2010. 

Even with cracked windows, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in mere minutes. Most of the temperature increase happens within 10 minutes. 

Children overheat faster than adults do. Kids have died from heatstroke in cars when the outside temperature was as low as 60 degrees, according to KidsAndCars.org. 

Most of these children were left in the cars accidentally, while a small number were left on purpose or went into the car without a parent knowing.

A combination of a lack of sleep and a change in routine was all it took in many cases. 

Experts recommend that parents and caregivers create a visual reminder that children are in the backseat. This could mean placing a purse or cellphone in the backseat, or putting a large stuffed animal in the front seat. 

Click here to see a detailed list of when and where these deaths occurred.