Children’s Health At Risk in Hot Cars

08/06/2014

NEW HYDE PARK, NY – With several incidents of children left in hot cars recently and a North Carolina man filming himself in a hot car to raise awareness of the dangers,  it is imperative that people remember leaving their child in a hot car, even for a few minutes, could be fatal, a New York emergency physician says.

On Monday, a crowd in Texas broke a car's windows to get two young children out from the hot vehicle.
The temperature in a car with the windows closed on a hot day increases dramatically and rapidly, explains Salvatore Pardo, vice chairman of emergency medicine at LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
"The temperatures have been documented to be up to 120 or 130 degrees inside the car," Dr. Pardo says.
Children left in a hot car have a decreased capacity to cool themselves off, Dr. Pardo says, "primarily because they don't have the air circulation around them and they don't have the same kind of perspiration as adults. So their cooling coping mechanisms are not developed. So basically the temperature of the car goes up and the core temperature of the infant goes up. At that point, when you start hitting about 106 degrees, that's when you can anticipate some kind of dysfunction, dehydration and damage to the central nervous system, primarily your brain. And that damage can be and probably will be irreversible And ultimately what happens is the child succumbs and that can happen very quickly, in about an hour or so."
Because this situation can get dangerous and lethal very quickly, Dr. Pardo says that any amount of time being left in a hot car is too long.

Below are some tips from the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Never leave kids alone in a hot car, even briefly.
  • Always check the front and back seats of the car before you lock it and leave.
  • See a kid alone in a hot car? Call 911 immediately. Get them out ASAP if they are in distress.
  • Put your purse, briefcase, or something else you need by the car seat so you don't forget to check.
  • Always lock your car when it's empty so kids can't get in without you knowing.
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