Every year, dozens of children die because they were left in hot cars.
Children are unable to regulate their body temperatures as well as adults
and young children are unable to remove themselves from cars when temperatures
become unbearable. The result of a parent’s forgetfulness can be
the tragic loss of life. The emergency care team at
West Hills Hospital encourages parents to become informed of the dangers of leaving kids in
How Hot Your Car Can Get
When a child develops heatstroke, he or she can die within minutes. Death
from heat stroke occurs when a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees
Fahrenheit. However, it doesn’t have to be extremely hot outdoors
for the temperature within a car to reach deadly heights. Temperatures
in the 60s and 70s can pose a risk of fatal accidents. When the temperature
outdoors is in the low 80s, the temperature inside the car can become
deadly within 10 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA). Parking the car in the shade or leaving the windows
cracked open will not keep a child from dying from heatstroke.
Why Hot Car Deaths Occur
Hot car deaths are completely preventable, but they still affect dozens
of families per year. These families are from all walks of life and all
levels of education. Most hot car deaths occur not because parents think
that it’s alright to leave a child alone in a car, but because the
parents simply forget that their kids are there. Exhaustion and breaks
from one’s usual routine can increase the risk.
How You Can Protect Kids
Some high-tech devices are currently available to serve as a warning system
to parents. In addition to these devices, it’s recommended that
all parents get into the habit of checking the backseat before walking
away from the car. Leaving a purse, briefcase, or another important item
in the backseat for every car trip can also serve as a reminder.
emergency care team at West Hills Hospital is available 24/7 to administer life-saving
interventions to children with heatstroke. If you see a child in a parked
car, please do not hesitate to call 911; your actions could save a life.
For general questions about the hospital services available in West Hills,
including burn care, emergency care, and cancer care, call our Consult-A-Nurse
line at (818) 676-4321.