Jacqueline Khalaf, BSN, RN, CPST, Injury Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinator, Trauma Department, Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician
The stories in the news are becoming too common: “Child left alone in car dies.”
Most parents believe it can never happen to them, but even the slightest change in routine or stress level can be a distraction that leads to the unthinkable. Sleeping babies are so peaceful and it can be tempting to think that you can just run inside the store for a quick errand. Never leave a child alone in a car. Even a quick errand inside can lead to injury or death from heatstroke, even when the weather cools off.
Every 10 days, a child dies from heatstroke after being left in a car. Last year alone, Texas tied with Florida for the number of cases of vehicular exhaustion.
Here’s what you need to know about heat strokes in kids:
- The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees or more in 10 minutes.
- Cracking windows does not help.
- A child’s body heats up four to five times faster than an adult’s.
There are simple tips that can help:
- Leave a cue in the back seat – a purse, work bag, or phone.
- Have a plan with your daycare to check on your child.
- Keep your car locked when you are not in it.
- Don’t leave car remotes around children as they can get trapped in hot vehicles.
- And always look before you lock!