Is Your Car Safe in the Back Seat?

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:04 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After historic winter weather and a cooler than average may... the impact of this heat wave could take you by surprise ... especially if you’re in a hurry.

Nationally, every year about 40 children die in hot cars. That’s why health experts are asking drivers to remember what they are leaving in the back seat.

The National Traffic Safety Administration reports that 53% of car deaths happen because someone left a vehicle with a child still inside.

Now, with the temperatures climbing like they are this week in Lubbock, a parked car is NOT a safe place for anyone to wait while someone gets out to run a quick errand.

Dr. Ron Cook is Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. He describes what the summer heat can do inside a vehicle. “It’s about two degrees per minute. And so so if you’re in there 10 minutes, it’s a 20 degree temperature change. He adds it doesn’t take long for the interior to reach 130 degrees in this kind of heat... and kids are especially vulnerable.

He explains, “Children are more susceptible to heat changes like that than adults. They have a greater surface area to bodyweight. So they have the ability to soak in the heat better than what you and I do as adults. And they soak in that heat much faster than us.”

Dr. Cook says even if you’re gone briefly with a child in the car, you may return to find the child sleeping, but the child instead could be showing early signs of heat stroke by not sweating anymore. They may look flushed and lethargic but their heart could be racing.

For more advice from Dr. Cook and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the full story is included on this page.

Remember that the elderly, pets and anyone with special needs are all more susceptible to heat stroke if left in a hot car.

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