Every year, we hear of countless deaths of babies and children from being left in the car on a hot summer day. While most people believe this type of tragic event could never happen to them, life is busy, and unfortunately, accidents happen. In the high summer temperatures, cars get dangerously hot way faster than we might realize.
While the death of children in hot cars is completely preventable and not deemed a true cause for alarm, it is important to note that one must still remain vigilant to assure that a child is not left too long in a hot car.
According to KMBC, there is no safe time in which a baby, child, or pet can be left in a hot car. In Overland Park, Kansas, police officers have responded to a huge number of hot car reports. Just this week, there have been 18 reports of animals locked in a hot car, and three children trapped in hot cars. Police Officer Richard Breshears says they work hard to spread the word about the dangers of hot cars and the very real threat to our children and pets.
“We want to prevent anything we can. We do not want to have a death in our community that could have been prevented. Period. Whether it be a child or an animal.”
Hot car injuries and deaths are not limited to a caregiver forgetting the child in the car. In many instances, the kids climb in the car on their own but are unable to find the way back out. In fact, WHOTV reports 34 percent of hot car deaths are a result of children entering the car on their own.
One mom, Amy Carey, came way too close to losing her son in this way. While she was taking care of household chores, her son, Cason, went to retrieve something from the car and got trapped inside.
“I ran outside and there he was, in the van jumping up and down, crying with sweat pouring off of him. I grabbed him out and he immediately started to fall asleep. We got inside called 911.”
This nightmare is one no parent wants to encounter. Thankfully, Cason was rescued in time and has suffered no ill effects from his accident.
Blank Children’s Hospital employee Kiki Joslin says it is always safest to keep cars locked.
“You want to make sure you leave your vehicles in locked, even if they are parked or in the driveway, that way even kids can’t wander in there, to play hide and seek or to retrieve a lost toy. Sometimes, we forget to look in our cars. So if they are locked, there is no risk of them getting in there.”
— ABC News (@ABC) June 17, 2016
According to WebMD, it is never okay to leave a child in a hot car, even for a few minutes, and even if the windows are down. Dr. Christopher Haines, the director of pediatric emergency medicine and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, stresses the importance of never leaving a child unattended in a car even in more mild temperatures.
“Parents leave children in a car for lack of understanding about how sick they can get and how quickly they can get sick. On a day that is just 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature [inside a car] can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and 70 percent of this increase occurs the first 30 minutes.”
Dr. Nathan Allen of the University of Chicago explains why children are more susceptible to suffering heat stroke from hot cars than adults.
“There is no safe amount of time to leave children alone in the car. Kids are more susceptible and at higher risk for heat-related illness and injury than adults because their bodies make more heat relative to their size and their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as adults.”
It’s so hot in Arizona that it only took 2 hours to cook a frozen pizza inside a hot car: https://t.co/H6g1vMElPfhttps://t.co/QcWohtUd1U
— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) June 21, 2016
It seems all the experts agree that never leaving a child in a hot car of any temperature is the only way to prevent heat stroke deaths from being trapped in a hot car. A good way to be sure a child or pet is not forgotten in a hot car is to place an item that you cannot leave the car without in an area next to your young passenger. A purse, cell phone, and the like will serve as a great reminder to pick up that baby as well. Keep your car locked at all times so your child cannot inadvertently get locked in an extremely hot car.
— Denise Dador (@abc7denise) June 16, 2016
If you find yourself in this tragic situation, remove the child from the hot car immediately, call 911 for help, put the baby in the shade away from the hot sun, and cover the baby with cool, damp cloths, suggests the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.
[Image via Shutterstock]