Each summer as the temperatures rise, so do the stories about children dying of heatstroke while left alone in a car. It is a heartbreaking scenario – a child trapped as the interior heats up to over a hundred degrees. In 2010, this problem took the lives of 48 children – setting a new record. Parents and caregivers need to educate themselves on the dangers of a hot car, and learn ways safeguard children.
A Little about Heat Stroke
Heatstroke is the final stage of a body overheating. The first sign is heavy sweating, nausea and dizziness. As the temperature continues to go up, the symptoms increase.
- Muscles atrophy causing intense pain.
- The sweating stops and breathing becomes shallow.
- The child may hallucinate and seize before falling into a deep coma.
Ways to Prevent Hot Car Injury
It is important for parents to set some ground rules for themselves and anyone who cares for a child.
Create a no exceptions rule – It is better to establish a no exceptions rule up front. No matter how short the errand, if you leave the car, so does the child.
Set up reminders – Create visual clues to remind yourself the baby is in the car. Place something you need next to the car seat such as a purse, briefcase or phone. This will force you to open the back door before you walk away. Place a visual reminder within your eye line, as well. Use something that belongs to the child – a blanket or diaper bag perhaps.
Train yourself to check the backseat – Make it a habit to glance into the back before you walk away. Work with your partner to help each other develop this tactic. Remind him or her to check the back whenever you travel together. Eventually, you will do this without thinking about it.
Lock parked car doors – An open car is inviting to a child playing hide and seek. Get in the habit of always locking the car and trunk when you park. This protects all the children in your neighborhood.
The risk of heat stroke is just one concern when leaving a child alone. There are predictors to worry about and children who find a way to climb out of the vehicle into traffic. You protect your kids against all types of dangers, why not improve car safety too and reduce the chance of hot car injury.