As crazy as it sounds, kids are still getting left behind in hot cars and suffering from heat stroke or dying as a result. An average of 38 kids per year die in hot cars in the US because their parents forgot they were in there (Source: Kidsandcars.org).
Last year alone there were 44 deaths. The majority of the victims are under 3 years old where half of them being under 2 years old, which is why they are unable to get out themselves.
Before 1995 front passenger seat air bag regulations came into effect, only about 5 kids a year died from heat stroke in cars. Even the most attentive and caring parents accidentally leave their kids behind.
How Kids Are Getting Left Behind
Often, people are strapping their kids in the back seat and get carried on with wherever they are going that they forget that there’s someone in the back at all and close all the windows. Some go to work with their kid locked in the car and then come back at the end of the day only to discover that the kid is dead.
Not all of the deaths are a result of a forgetful parent though. About a quarter of the victims let themselves into a hot car without the parent knowing, making it critical for parents to more aware of where their children are at, at all times.
The Effects of a Heat Stroke
People who get heat stroke develop a body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher and need professional medical attention right away. At 104°F, internal organs start to shut down and at 107°F a child begins to die. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and aches, and dizziness.
In order to prevent your kids from getting left behind in the car, try some of the following:
- Leave your left shoe in the back with the child so when you get out, you immediately remember to open the back door.
- Put a child’s toy on the passenger seat so you will see it before you get out.
- Leave your purse or briefcase in the back seat so when you reach for it, you will see your child.
Being present is important to remembering that your child is in the car with you. It’s so easy for people to get wrapped up in their own to-do list and minds and unfortunately, the ones who can’t help themselves are the ones who suffer.
If you are walking through a parking lot, take a gander at the cars you walk by and make sure there aren’t any kids or pets left behind if it’s over 70°F. In just ten minutes, the inside car temperature rises to 100°F. If there are any kids or pets left in the car, call 911 right away.