Precious Cargo

Baby carseat, Author Snibban (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Twenty-three young children so far this year have died after being left in locked cars by their caregivers [1].  The average is 133 per year [2].

The majority of these deaths were unintended.  Intended or not, the temperature in a locked car – even a light-colored car with the windows partly open – can rise to 125 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes [3].

The signs of heat stroke include hot, dry skin; dehydration; and extremely high fever.  Even healthy babies are at risk for heat stroke.  In a moderately warm environment, babies in good health may already run a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

As humidity rises, perspiration (the primary cooling mechanism of the body) becomes less effective.  In babies, clothing, cushioned seats, and the placement of an infant carrier below window-level further reduce evaporation.

There are devices available and in development to remind a parent or guardian of the baby in the backseat.  These range in price from $25 and up.  Women can, also, make a habit of placing their handbags in the backseat (adjacent to the baby).  Few women will leave a car without first retrieving their handbag.

Nothing can replace mindfulness of the precious cargo we carry.

[1]  ABC 7 – Eyewitness News,  “Number of Child Hot-Car Deaths in 2016 Reaches 23”, 7/28/16,  http://abc7.com/family/number-of-child-hot-car-deaths-in-2016-reaches-23/1445637/.

[2]  Thingamababy, “A Look at Three Child Car Heat Death Safety Devices”, 7/19/07, http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/2007/07/babysafety.html.

[3]  Injury Prevention, “Heat Exposure in an Enclosed Automobile” by Lynn Gibbs, David Lawrence, and Mel Kohn, MD (reprinted from Journal of the Louisiana State Medical Society, Vol. 147 (12) 1995), http://www.injuryprevention.org/states/la/hotcars/hotcars.htm.

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9 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Neglect

9 responses to “Precious Cargo

  1. WOW, I had no idea the numbers were so high…I think I would surely leap off a bridge if I inadvertently left a child in a car (locked or not, hot or mild temps).

    • The same tragedy repeats itself each year.

      • It’s amazing, and horrifying–‘specially since there’s been so much press; I would think that should get people’s attention and make them more mindful.

      • The pace of life is so hectic these days that other things often take precedence over children. Also, the brain is capable of performing habitual tasks without much thought. If a parent who is not ordinarily the one to transport a child does so, on a particular day, s/he is more likely to keep to his/her usual routine (forgetting the presence of the child). Most troubling are the situations where a car is deliberately used as the substitute for a babysitter, without regard to the child’s welfare.

      • I do understand what you’re saying–the “routine” of the brain; and I so agree that the car wasn’t meant to serve as babysitter. I always have felt that people should have to pass stringent tests for licensing before becoming parents…but of course that’s not reality.

        I wonder what stage the court case is in, where the dad left his child in the car–and was possibly “sexting” on his phone with someone not his wife…and the suspicion voiced via media was that he wanted to be free of the child through an “unfortunate accident”…

  2. It is heartbreaking to see the fate of children.. I can’t imagine leaving a child unattended period! I recently did a post about a number of infant deaths resulting from parents and day care workers using Benadryl to put the kids to sleep.. Lord help us.. I know it must grieve Him too.

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