Check the Back Seat

Check the Back Seat

In the past week, at least six Tennessee and Arkansas children died after being left in hot cars.

Experts at Le Bonheur Children's caution parents to be extra careful, especially during extreme heat. Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention for Safe Kids Mid-South located at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, offers this advice:

"A child's body temperature climbs three to five times faster than an adult's, especially in a hot car. In less than 30 minutes, the temperature inside a car can increase 35 degrees. An infant can die in as little as 15 minutes even on a mild 75-degree day.

Unfortunately, even the most conscientious parents can overlook a sleeping baby in a car.

The biggest mistake people make is to think 'It couldn't happen to me.' Memory experts point out that if you've ever forgotten a pot left burning on the stove, you've seen how easy it is to have a dangerous memory lapse."

To prevent vehicular heat stroke deaths, Safe Kids Mid-South recommends learning the following safety tips:

  • Every child should be correctly restrained in the back seat.
  • Put something in the back seat so you have to open the door when leaving the vehicle - a cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.
  • Ask your babysitter or child care provider to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn't arrived on time.
  • Focus on driving. Avoid cell phone calls and texting while driving.
  • Every time you park your vehicle, open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind.
  • Safe Kids also urges security personnel, parking lot attendants and the public to watch for children alone in a vehicle. Call 911 immediately if you see a child left alone in a car.

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