Every summer, children die inside of parked cars.
Since 1998, there have been over 650 child deaths from heatstroke in parked cars. In most cases, the adults forgot their infants in the back seat of the car, who were locked inside in the heat for hours. Most were under 3 years old, and the majority were less than a year old.
As an adult, it’s your responsibility to understand the risk and dangers of leaving your children inside of hot parked cars, and to take precautions to ensure their safety.
Many parents don’t know how hot a car can get:on a sunny day with an outside temperature of 72 degrees, the interior temperature of a closed car can rise to over 110 degrees within an hour, and heat stroke can occur when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees.
Children are more prone to suffocation, heat strokes and other heat-related injuries due to their weaker immunity system, small body size, and limited capability to minimize the effect of heat through sweating.
The bottom line is that it’s never acceptable to leave a child (or a pet) in a car, even for “just a few minutes” or with partially open windows – the consequences of getting sidetracked for half an hour or more are too great. You can use a visual reminder of children being in the back seat of the car: having your purse, smartphone or important documents in the back seat with the child.
Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles by Jan Null, CCM Department of Meteorology & Climate Science San Jose State University (Updated August 12, 2015)
Review Dr. Kim on:
Latest posts by Peter L Kim, MD (see all)
- Confused About the Symptoms of the Flu or the New Coronavirus? Read Here - February 12, 2020
- Survival Tips for the 2019 LA County Fair - August 29, 2019
- Staying Fit in Orange County: The Best Hiking Trails - June 12, 2019