Understanding How Hot Your Parked Car Can Get

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 parked cars.

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.

The 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.

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