The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn of the dangers of children in hot cars. On average, one child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle every seven days. There are some common misconceptions about this danger.
“It’s not that hot out.” “I’ll only be a few minutes”. Cars get hot fast and children are even more susceptible to the heat. Researchers have found that if a car is parked in direct sunlight, temperatures inside the car can reach as high as 131° F to 171° F in only 15 minutes. Children are vulnerable to heatstroke for many reasons, such as their small blood volume in relation to their body and their inability to sweat the same amount as adults. Children’s bodies can overheat three to five times more quickly than an adult’s.
“I would never forget my child in the car” Anyone can mistakenly leave a child in the back seat, even a loving and attentive parent. Children are at a higher risk for being left in the back seat if the individual driving is distracted or there is a change in the typical routine.
By Drs. Ryan Aubrey (PGY-2) and Bertina Loui (PGY-3)