It might seem obvious to experienced parents and caregivers that it’s
dangerous to leave a child in a hot car, but dozens of hot car deaths
still occur every year. In fact, many of these deaths occur not because
the parents were ignorant of the dangers, but because the exhausted parents
simply forgot that they had kids in the backseat. This summer, the emergency
care team at
Southern Hills Hospital strongly urges parents throughout Las Vegas to become proactive about
preventing deadly heatstroke in their children.
Understanding the Risks
There is no “safe” amount of time to leave a child in a parked
car. Children can suffer heatstroke very quickly and will die when their
body temperature is elevated to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the temperature inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in
just 10 minutes. When the temperature outside is just 60 degrees, the
temperature inside a parked car can reach 110 degrees.
Keeping Your Child Safe
There is an increased risk of leaving a child in the backseat when parents
change their schedules or are particularly exhausted. Ask the daycare
provider or preschool teacher to call you if your child does not arrive
at the usual time. Place important items like your purse, briefcase, or
cell phone in the backseat with your child to reduce the possibility that
you’ll leave without checking the backseat. Some parents also like
to place a stuffed animal in the front seat whenever their child is in
the backseat to serve as a visual reminder.
Keeping Other Children Safe
If you notice a child in a parked car without an adult nearby and the child
appears to be in distress, call 911 immediately. Then, get the child out
of the car and spray him or her with cool water. If a child is left alone
in a car but does not appear to be in distress, wait no longer than a
couple of minutes for the adult to return before calling 911. Always stay
with the child until help arrives.
In the event that emergency care for heatstroke is required this summer,
the team at Southern Hills Hospital is always standing by to initiate
life-saving interventions. In addition to our emergency care, our community hospital in Las Vegas
provides orthopedic surgery, geriatric psychiatry, and stroke care. Direct
all medical emergencies to 911; non-emergent inquiries about our hospital
services can be directed to (702) 880-2700.