Ask Dr. Nandi: Dangers of leaving kids in hot cars

Posted at 11:05 AM, Jun 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 11:05:41-04

As the temperatures start to rise, the risk of children dying in hot cars rises as well. In 2018, 52 children died in overheated vehicles, that’s the highest number on record. Today we’re exploring just what is going on.

There’s no safe amount of time to leave a child in a car. On a hot day, if the windows are fully closed the temperature inside the vehicle can zoom up to about 130 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes. In fact, even on mild days, with temps of only 60 to 73 degrees outside, the inside of the car will get dangerously hot very quickly, especially if the sun is shining directly on the vehicle.

There are a number of factors at play. First of all, many people don’t understand that a child is at much greater risk than an adult in a hot car. That’s because their little bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than ours do. And, people often underestimate that quick errand, they think they’ll be two minutes, but then it turns into 15 to 30 minutes. For parents on their way to work, they get distracted thinking about everything they have to do that day. IT DOESN’T HELP THAT Children often fall asleep in the backseat of the car. So, the parent doesn’t see them, doesn’t hear them, and then they forget to stop at the daycare center. This is actually more likely to happen if there’s been some kind of change in routine.

The main thing is to get into the habit of checking the back seat. Put something you need for your day back there, your cell phone, purse, or briefcase. Anything that will force you to look into the back seat. To make this a habit you have to do it every single time you’re in the car, even when the kids are not there.

Just when we think we have all the apps and technology we need... Dr. Partha Nandi, MD shows us some cutting-edge technology that can have a huge impact on your health. Join him for an all-new episode of the Dr. Nandi Show on Saturday, June 1st at 5 pm. You’ll hear from the inventor of the Keen bracelet designed to break unwanted habits like hair pulling, nail biting and thumb sucking. Another guest shares how her life was saved by the Familywize App, plus how the app Zello can find and save hurricane survivors.