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Hot Cars and Children: Deadly Combination

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.

Hot-Cars-Deadly-Combination

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)

U.S. Child Vehicular Heatstroke Deaths

Summer or no, where you go, the child goes

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Peter L Kim, MD

Dr. Kim,  is the Medical Director of Family Care Centers, Former Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and a recipient of the Physicians of Excellence award from the Orange County Medical Association. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, and has been practicing in our community for over 20 years. He is an excellent, caring, and well­qualified physician who is dedicated to providing you with superior health care. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA and received his medical training at the LAC­USC Medical Center. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he accepted a sports medicine fellowship at San Jose Medical Center, an affiliate of Stanford University. He enjoys working with patients and families who are training or want to get back into an active lifestyle.

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One comment

  • I often take my family out on weekends. It is great to read your article, it is very useful to create safe for children. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

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