Would you leave a child in a hot car?

The stories are horrifying.

How could anyone leave a baby or young child in a hot car? Oven-like temperatures can lead to heatstroke and ultimately, death. In fact, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that leaving children inside a burning vehicle the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for kids under the age of 14.

Angelica Baker, Injury Prevention Specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital says an NHTSA study found that parents who break their usual daily routines are more likely to leave a child in the car by accident.

A recent story about a 21 month-old Phoenix girl who died when family members forgot to bring her inside after attending church is a tragic reminder that temperatures can soar very quickly in closed vehicles.

It’s worth taking a moment to read these safety tips from the Injury Prevention Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car, truck or van.
  • High temperatures can cause the temperature inside a parked car to reach dangerous levels. After only 15 minutes in direct sunlight, the temperature inside a car can reach 135 to 192 degrees. High temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion or death.
  • Children often fall asleep in the car, so when leaving a car make sure to check that all children are out. Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back seats- before locking the door and walking away.
  • Create reminders: One way to create a reminder is to keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. When your child is in the car seat, move the stuffed animal to the front seat with you as a reminder.
  • Other helpful reminders include writing a note, placing a purse/briefcase in the backseat, etc. Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open or with the engine running and the air conditioning on.
  • If you break routine, have your spouse/friend call you to make sure everything went according to plan
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
  • Cover metal parts of car seats in hot weather. Belt and harness buckles can cause serious burns to children.
  • Call 911 immediately if you see a child left in a heated car.


I really could have used this little app last week when I was shopping for sunscreens at the beach drugstore, trying to remember my post about the EWG rankings for safest sunscreens.

You can now take the listings with you when you shop – and browse the Environmental Working Group’s guide to safe sunscreens with their new app for the iPhone.

It’s a free listing that ranks over 500 beach and sport sunscreens analyzed for safety by EWG.

If you don’t have an iPhone, download the PDF file of sunscreen and sun safety tips here.


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