Each year, children across the U.S. are killed after being left in hot cars without air conditioning for extended periods of time. Perhaps parents think they can quickly run their errands and leave the child unattended. Whatever the reasoning, area hosiptals and CHP have joined the fight against this inexplicable phenomenon by reminding parents that it is never safe to leave a child, or even a pet, in a hot car for any length of time. The extreme heat combined with the lack of ventilation and hydration is a lethal combination that often leads to disastrous consequences.
Since March, 21 children across the state were killed after being left unattended in a sweltering vehicle. California Highway Patrol and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital warn parents that enough is enough! Leaving a child unattended for just 5 minutes is long enough for him to overheat and enter unconsciousness.
The interior temperature in a car can climb one degree per minute. Very young children and infants do not sweat as much as older children and adults and are very ill-equipped to deal with the hazards of extreme bodily over-heating. The dashboard also acts as a heat sponge and absorbs even more deadly heat to warm the car with.
The national organization 4 R Kids Sake has designated August as its month of awareness of this horrific phenomenon. Throughout August, CHP plans to attach purple ribbons to its patrol cars to serve as a reminder to the community to never leave a child in a hot, smoldering vehicle.
Under “Kaitlyn’s Law,” parents or caretakers who leave a child in a hot car face significant fines. The law was enacted after a six-month old died in August , 2000 after her babysitter left her in a hot car for two hours.
4 R Kids, a non-profit organization targeting the prevention of preventable accidents involving children and vehicles, also warns of the dangers of asphyxiation for those children who are left in cars. If all windows are left up, ventilation and oxygen supply will be limited and children can actually stop breathing. 4 R Kids warns that leaving children in cars is a bad habit to get into as the risk of hypothermia during winter months is also of grave concern.