A Kansas mother is in jail, accused of leaving her two small children inside a car for hours while she was at a bar, according to KTLA sister station WDAF in Kansas City.
The children were found as temperature plummeted to single digits early Wednesday morning.
A worker told WDAF that a 26-year-old woman, later identified as Tiara Dillon, came into Playerz Sports Bar in Lawrence about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Over the course of almost 4 hours, bartenders said she ordered several drinks and made erratic remarks. At 1:30 a.m., they'd had enough and kicked her out.
Dillon went out to the parking lot, and apparently, her car wouldn't start. Workers said she tried to go back to the bar, and that's when bar employees called police.
Officers said Dillon had left the area, but they found her car nearby. Two children, ages 2 and 3, were inside. The temperature outside at the time in Lawrence was 6 degrees with a wind chill of -12.
Dillon was arrested on suspicion of DUI and aggravated child endangerment. She's expected in court Thursday.
Police said the kids weren't injured, but child protective services are also now investigating.
"Being in a car is not predictable, and they can be exposed to those temperatures that cause medical issues," said Dr. Travis Langner, University of Kansas Health System pediatric critical care division manager.
Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System say extreme temperatures are dangerous for small children. Their bodies can't adjust to the deep freeze easily, and it only takes a drop of a couple degrees in body temp for mild hypothermia to kick in.
"Definitely within minutes you could have that drop in what we call core temperature of the body. Once it gets below 95 degrees, we start becoming very concerned and want those patients to present to the hospital because part of the treatment is to re-warm them a specific way that can't be done at home," Langner said.
It is also important to know even running your car heater with small kids inside can be dangerous, according to experts. If children get too hot inside coats and blankets and can't take them off, they can get sick from being overheated, too.