Tag Archives: infant safety

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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