Danger: Child Left in Car

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You have to make a 10 minute run into the store and your toddler and infant are sleeping in their car seats. They really need naps and so you’re tempted to leave them in the car. It’s a pleasant day outside, not too hot, a bit of cloud cover. But, even though it grates against your nerves, you make the right call: you wake them up and bring them in the store with you. Despite their grumpiness and your frustration, you still know you did well because you know the facts.

Learn the Facts

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports a rise in the deaths of children left inside cars. Any day, any time, any temperature, leaving a child inside a car is dangerous: 

  1. Cars heat up much faster than you think. In just 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees. The windows act like a greenhouse, trapping the warmth and providing no air movement for relief. If it’s 80 degrees outside, a car parked in direct sunlight can rapidly reach 131 degrees.
  2. Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults’.  When your child’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. At 107, it is most likely deadly.
  3. It’s not just on hot and sunny days. Heatstroke can happen with the temperature as low as 57 degrees outside.
  4. Keeping the windows open doesn’t help. Even if you crack the windows, it will not make a significant difference in keeping a parked car cool enough for children.
Any day, any time, any temperature, leaving a child inside a car is dangerous.

Car Safety Tips

  1. Develop a habit of always checking the backseat when you leave your car. Keep your purse or cell phone in the backseat so that it’s harder to forget about your child.
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  3. Avoid distractions, like cell phones, while driving. We’ve all experienced how absent minded we can be when we’re talking on the phone.  (Oops! Wasn’t that my exit?). Keep your chats to a minimum while driving so that you can pay attention to your kids and make sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time.
  4. Be on high alert during any changes of routine. When schedules are up in the air, it can be tough to remember all the details. If you’re making shifts in your daily routine, double check if a child has been left in the car. Or if someone else is driving your child, call and confirm all has gone according to plan.
  5. Lock your car, and don’t let your children play in it. The car is not a toy. When you’ve parked your car at home, make sure it’s locked and that your children don’t have access to your keys.
  6. Check the trunk. If you can’t find your child, first check the pool (if you have one), then go immediately to the car and check the trunk. 
  7. Call 911 if you see a child left in the car. If you are out and see a child left in the car, call 911. Don’t hesitate: try to get them out of the car. Every minute can count.
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