Don’t forget your child in a hot carBy April Frawley Birdwell • Published: August 11th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Ever zoned out in the car on a Saturday morning and started to drive to work when you meant to go to the grocery store for milk? It happens. According to memory experts, the part of your brain linked to your habits and routines can take over, drowning out the part of your brain in charge of your daily plans.
So imagine what could happen if you head to work, forgetting the stop you were supposed to make first … dropping your sleeping infant off at daycare. With a long commute, a brain stuck on auto-pilot and a sleeping baby in a rear-facing car seat, almost any parent could make the deadly mistake of leaving a child in the car.
Researchers from San Francisco State University say about thirty-seven children die each year after being left in hot cars. If the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the temperature inside a car can climb to one-hundred-and-twenty-three degrees in an hour. As the temperature rises, a child can lose consciousness and die.
But there are steps you can take to ensure this doesn’t happen to your family. First, never leave a child in a parked car, even if you are just running back into the house to grab a toy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises parents to keep a stuffed animal in the car seat when it is not in use. When a child is in the seat, keep the toy in your passenger seat. This visual cue will serve as a quick reminder that baby is indeed on board.
Install your child’s seat on the passenger side, where it’s more noticeable. And make it a habit to keep your phone or purse on the backseat, too.
Another good idea? Ask your child-care provider to call if you don’t show up. You can also purchase a special alarm that goes off if baby is left in a parked car.
After all, when it comes to keeping little ones safe, every precaution helps.