Cleveland Clinic doctor says hot car deaths are preventable - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Tips on how to prevent hot car deaths

Source: Cleveland Clinic Source: Cleveland Clinic
Source: Cleveland Clinic Source: Cleveland Clinic
Source: Cleveland Clinic Source: Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Purva Grover, a pediatric emergency room doctor at Cleveland Clinic. (Source: Cleveland Clinic) Dr. Purva Grover, a pediatric emergency room doctor at Cleveland Clinic. (Source: Cleveland Clinic)
(WOIO) -

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about 38 children die of heatstroke each year in the United States.

Studies show that about half of the incidents involve a loving parent or caregiver forgetting about a sleeping child in the backseat.  

"As parents we think, it can never happen to me, I am educated, I mean well, I love my kid, but yes it can happen to us," says Dr. Purva Grover, a pediatric emergency room doctor at Cleveland Clinic.

Children left in a parked car, even on what feels like a cool day, are at risk of heatstroke.  The closed windows of the car mimic a greenhouse and create an oven-like environment within minutes. 

"A child's body's temperature rises 3-5 times faster than an adult's.  Even when with the window slightly down, the car temperature can reach to 125 degrees within minutes.  That's scorching and that can lead to heat strokes, heat exhaustions, and kids left in the car alone for small or extended
periods of time can be fatal," explains Dr. Grover.

Although most hot car deaths are accidental, there's never a good reason to leave children in the car alone for any amount of time.  Dr. Grover suggests developing a system to prevent such a tragedy from happening.  One tip, when relevant, is to instruct your child's caregiver to give you a call if your child doesn't show up by a certain time.

Another suggestion is to place a stuffed animal in the front seat as a reminder that your child is riding along or to put all of your things in the backseat, which in turn draws your attention to the backseat before getting out and locking the doors.

"Sometimes if you leave a key item of your being like a cell phone, wallet, bag on the backseat or on the ground then you are liable to open the door to look for it and then that's when you can see that your child is there," says Dr. Grover.

Anyone that sees a child in a parked car is urged to call for help.  Being careful just might save a life.

"If you are a by-stander, you see a child in a car, you don't see an adult around, it is our responsibility as good citizens to go and make sure the child can get out of the car, call 9-1-1," says Dr. Grover.

Curious children may sneak into an unlocked car to play and get locked in, so if your
child is playing outside and disappears for a few minutes – check the car
immediately, including the trunk.

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