Heat stroke and children left in hot cars

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by DR. WENDY SUE SWANSON / Seattle Mama Doc

KING5.com

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 24 at 5:51 PM

Unfortunately, terrible stories and a bad track record prove that any parent can forget their child in the car on a hot day. There have been over 500 documented child deaths since 1998 due to children being left in hot cars.

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under age 14.

In 2010, 49 kids died in overheated cars nationwide, 33 in 2011 and 32 last year, according to statistics kept by meteorologist Jan Null and the advocacy group KidsandCars.org.

Heat in the car:

  • Children’s bodies heat up 5 times faster than adults
  • Even temps in the 60s can cause a car to rise to 110 degrees
  • Heat stroke can happen on a 70-degree day!
  • In 10 minutes, car can rise 20 degrees!
  • If it's 80 outside, car can reach 123 in an hour


Devices to prevent forgetful caregivers:

  • More than half of heatstroke deaths occur after child forgotten in car
  • One company designed a carseat that alarms when child in car
  • Keychain devices
  • Research shows some devices work, but imperfectly


What parents need to know:

  • Even great, smart parents can forget their kids in the car
  • Create reminders to always check the back seat
  • Call 911 if you ever see a child alone in a car
  • Heatstroke happens 11 months a year


Quick tips and reminders:

  • Leave your purse, briefcase, cell phone or computer in back seat every time
  • Never leave children or infants in car, even if the windows are open
  • Don’t let children play in a parked car
  • Keep the car locked even in your driveway
  • Have school call if your child doesn’t show up


Related links:

 

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