Helpful reminders so kids don't get left in hot cars

Dr. Sapna Parikh reports
It's been happening more frequently, children left behind in hot cars, and the consequences are deadly and heartbreaking.

Tuesday in Ridgefield, Connecticut, a 15-month old died after being left in a hot car when his father went to work.

That death yesterday brings the total to 16 deaths this year and the summer is just getting started.

Most of these deaths are completely unintentional, good parents who are just busy and distracted.

Never leave your child in a closed car, not for a minute, not even to run in and get groceries.

A child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult and a car quickly becomes an oven.

The outside temperature Wednesday afternoon was 89.9 degrees. In our unofficial experiment we watched it go up to 105.8 degrees in just 15 minutes.

"For parents to think this couldn't happen to them is an enormous mistake," said Sue Auriemma, the Vice President of KidsAndCars.org.

A rear facing car seat looks the same whether your baby is in it or not making it easier to forget.

Some new high tech car seats have an app that warns you.

One man invented the child in car alert device. It beeps when you turn the car off. If you still forget your child, it then starts honking.

Andrew Schuller won a contest for his invention

"As you're getting in, you attach it to car handle," said Andrew Schuller the creator of the EZ Baby Saver.

The EZ Baby Saver band blocks you from getting out as a reminder.

The shoe trick also went viral. It sounds strange, but after the child is in the seat, put your left shoe in the back seat, so even if you forget, you'll remember when you step out.

As the vice president of KidsAndCars.org Sue Auriemma demonstrated two more low tech prevention tips.

"Leave your purse in the back, and a stuffed animal in the front," Auriemma said.

The bottom line is to create some reminder for yourself every time.

People often think that leaving the windows open a little bit helps, but that's a myth. It does not significantly slow the heating process or impact the overall temperature.

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Here are some tips from safety advocates on avoiding accidental deaths in hot cars:

  • Never leave children alone in a vehicle to run even a short errand. Use drive-thru windows at banks, dry cleaners and restaurants whenever possible. Use a debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.


  • Put a purse, cellphone or other item you will need in the back seat of your car. This will ensure that you check the back seat before leaving the vehicle.


  • Make a habit of opening the back door of your car and checking the back seat whenever you exit it.


  • Keep a stuffed animal or toy in your child's unoccupied car seat. Put that item in the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a reminder that the child is in the back of the car.


  • If a child is missing, immediately check the car, including the trunk.


  • If you see a young child who is unresponsive or in great distress alone in a hot vehicle, get the child out and call 911.


  • Sources: Connecticut State Police, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, kidsandcars.org
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    health children hot car summer heat
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