Hot Cars Deadly Threat To Kids

Monday, June 22nd 2009, 5:32 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa woman had a close call yesterday when she accidentally left her one-month-old son in the car while she ran into a store.

The baby was there for about 20 minutes and he'll be okay. But as the temperatures climb, the threat becomes deadly.

6/21/2009  Related Story: Baby Boy Accidentally Left In Hot Vehicle In Tulsa

Twelve children have already died this year in the U.S. because they were left in hot cars.

In one case, it was only 60 degrees outside, but it doesn't take long for a car to get hot enough for the child to die of hyperthermia.

Most of the ones who do are under the age of one.

Experts say even though it's a hassle to get the baby out, never leave them in the car no matter how quickly you think you can run your errand.

"Even when a parent says, ‘it's only going to take me 10 seconds to do,' you never, ever do it," said Dr. Pat Daley, a pediatrician.

The cases heard most are those when a parent forgets a child is in the car and the baby is left for hours.

Heatstroke happens when your temperature exceeds 104 and at 107, the organs begin to shut down and you die.

To make matters worse, children's bodies warm up three to five times faster than adults.

"Is 10 seconds going to cause harm? No. But, is three, five, 10 minutes? That will cause a problem," said Dr. Daley.

Most cases of children forgotten in cars have happened since airbags made it unsafe for child seats to be in the front seat.

In addition to having the car seats in the back now, many of them are rear facing, so you don't see the child in the rearview mirror.

If the baby is asleep, you can't hear or see them, which makes it critical to remind yourself they are there.

The look before you lock method means training yourself to look in the back seat every time you hit the lock button.

Another idea is to keep a teddy bear in the front seat next to you to remind you there's a baby in the back.

A couple of products have been invented, but they haven't caught on because no one ever thinks it will happen to them.

But, it has happened to parents who are loving and dedicated, including a pediatrician, a social worker and a pastor.

It can happen to anyone and this is the time of year to be thinking about it.