The Risk of Leaving Your Child in a Hot Car

The Risk of Leaving Your Child in a Hot Car

The consequences of leaving your child in a hot car, even for just a short while, are serious.  They can even be deadly. At Child Safety Store, we look out for the wellbeing of your children and arm you with everything you need to prevent an unnecessary tragedy. As the summer weather heats up, now is the perfect time for a reminder that these accidents can happen to anyone.

Children Are at Risk in Hot Cars

The truth is that children (and pets, too!) can die when left in the hot car. The cause of death, vehicular heatstroke, is a serious concern.  As a result, heatstroke is actually the leading cause of deaths in vehicles (excluding crashes) for children aged 14 and under.

You see, young children are not able to regulate their body temperature as easily as adults. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body. So while a car may not seem very hot to you, or the child may is not in the car for very long, the situation can still end in tragedy.

Unfortunately, these incidents happen more often than you may realize. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, on average, a child dies from vehicular heatstroke every ten days.

Vehicular Heatstroke Happens All Year

Although summer is only just beginning, ten children have already died from vehicular heatstroke so far this year.  That’s because this risk isn’t only a concern in the summer.  It can happen at any time. Even when temperatures aren’t extreme outside, the heat inside the vehicle can rise to dangerous levels. If a child or pet is left inside, it could mean disaster. 

Consumer Reports put these temperatures to the test. Their research showed that even when it was 61° F outside, the temperature inside a closed car reached more than 105° F in just 1 hour.  These are extremely dangerous conditions for a child.

Shade is Not the Solution

A study at Arizona State University and the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine found that even in a shaded vehicle, a 2-year-old's temperature can reach 104° F in a little less than 2 hours.  To put this into perspective, this is the same internal body temperature that signals the onset of heatstroke in children. At 107° F, the child is at serious risk of death.

In addition, cracking the windows open doesn’t make a big difference in regulating the temperature. In fact, the change in temperature is not significant enough to curb the risk of danger.

This Situation Can Happen to Anyone

To some, this information may seem obvious. Most people think that they would never leave their child alone in the car. However, it can happen to anyone.  To be safe, always plan for the risk. The bottom line is that there are many reasons why children are left in a hot car.  Stress, or a break in your daily routine, can sometimes cause a parent to unintentionally forget their child in the car.  Other parents leave their children, but figure that if they’re quick, no harm will be done. They likely don’t realize how quickly a car can heat up.  You never think it will happen to you, but it’s best to prepare in case it does.  Create a visual cue by placing your child’s diaper bag in the front seat, or set a reminder on your phone. 

Help is On the Way!

Fortunately, a new bill has been proposed to make safety reminders mandatory.  While some manufacturers have already implemented safety features, the HOT CARS Act (Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats) would require that cars come with technology to alert you when a child is left in the backseat after the ignition is turned off. Unfortunately, these regulations are not yet the norm. Until then, know the risk and be extra careful.

To help in this situation, L-Squared Technologies is developing a patent-pending solution to child heat-stroke death. The company is the brainchild of two renowned safety experts, Eric Lupton (Child Safety Store, Life Saver Pool Fence) and Dr. Robert Lyons (Safety Turtle). Together they are creating a new safety technology that can be implemented in existing cars with a small change to car seats and zero change to cars.

In short, it works using a simple solution called the Three Rs:

  • REMIND The Driver

Detect when a child is buckled into the child car seat. Activate the two-way car FOB in the car seat and start monitoring air temperature near the child. When the driver shuts off the ignition, they will receive an audible reminder of the child.

  • REVERSE The Temperature

When the temperature rises quickly or reaches a critical limit, the system tells the vehicle to fully roll down all windows. Further temperature rise is arrested and air starts to cool to external ambient.

  • RESCUE The Child

At the same time as opening the windows, the system will unlock the car doors and initiate the car alarm system with a distinct interrupted beeping, alerting bystanders that a child is in need of rescue.

The system is compatible with virtually all cars on the road. It can be implemented as an add-on to existing child car seats, or more effectively incorporated into new car seat designs. To learn more about this fascinating new technology, please visit lsquaredtech.com.

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