Baby in a car

Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. This condition usually occurs if your body temperature rises to 104 Fahrenheit or higher. Heatstroke is a severe condition with an 80 percent mortality rate. In 2019, according to the centers for disease and control and prevention, there were 505 heat-related deaths in the United States. Out of these, 53 cases were from children who died due to being left in a hot car. There have been over 1000 cases of hot car-related deaths since 1990. These deaths occur purely in accidents with no intention to harm innocent children. Here we discuss what to do if you come across such a situation and prevent further loss of life.

What to do

The first response should be dialing 911 before you start looking for the owner of the car. While waiting for the emergency response, you can try shielding the child from the heat by covering the car with a blanket or other material to prevent further heating. If you notice that the child is not in immediate danger, it can be helpful to try to find out which store the owner might be in and have them make a storewide announcement. If you you notice the child in immediate danger, you can try breaking the car’s window to get the child out. Aim for the furthest window from the child to prevent hurting the child with the broken glass pieces. After getting the child out, you try cooling down their temperature by wiping them with water on the face. Do not use ice to try to cool the child down since this can lead to shivering, raising the child’s temperature even higher. After getting the child out, at which point the emergency services would have probably arrived, try to contact the car owner to come and get their child.

Why it happens

Parents often leave their children in the car due to abstraction of their everyday routines when raising a young child, according to a study conducted by David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, calling it habit memory. He states that the brain of a competent and caring parent sets itself on autopilot doing the routine programs and forgetting the new events in their life. This situation might happen, especially when a parent takes their child to the first daycare program. An instance is that of a parent who always leaves for work while leaving their child at home. Therefore, their brain is set to that. And on a fateful day, their brain does the routine ignoring the change in their habits.

There are several ways in which parents can avoid forgetting their children in their cars. One is keeping important must-have stuff like a purse next to your child’s seat. The other way is by installing technological systems that can detect a child inside the car and alert the parent through their mobile phone. There is also a need to implement a law requiring car manufacturers to install such systems during their manufacture. Let’s all work together to save young lives.

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