NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As temperatures reach near triple digits, the Tennessee Highway Patrol is actively working to prevent hot car deaths. 

Recent data gathered by Kids and Hot Cars shows that the state of Tennessee is eighth in the nation for child hot car deaths. In 2018, hot car deaths reached record numbers in the United States with 54 children dying in hot vehicles. Last year, 23 children in the nation died from being left in hot vehicles, according to Kids and Hot Cars

To prevent further tragedy from occurring, THP is urging motorists to leave behind the distractions, which is something Lieutenant Bill Miller says the agency keeps a lookout for while on patrol.

“As we are patrolling the interstates, we drive through the welcome centers we visually look to see if there are any children unattended in cars.  Elderly people can be unattended in vehicles as well, but heat affects younger individuals and older individuals much differently than it does a healthy middle-aged adult,” said Lieutenant Miller.

The warning comes after a one-year-old in Memphis died after being left in a car for more than six hours during 80-degree weather last month. According to WREG, the daycare has since surrendered its license following the toddler’s death.

The THP is warning motorists who are prone to distractions to put something else of importance in the backseat of the vehicle such as a shoe or purse. Although the action may seem small, the THP says it could save a life.