Kids and Cars Canada offers warm weather warning

by John McKiggan

The tragic deaths of two toddlers in less than two weeks has brought attention to the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars: Children, cars and hot temperatures a deadly mix

Through my volunteer efforts with I have learned how dangerous it can be to leave children unattended in cars.

There are two facts that most people simply are not aware of that contribute to the danger.

Cars become ovens

First how hot a car can become: When it’s 25 degrees C outside a car parked in the sun, even if the windows are cracked open, can reach temperatures of more than 50 degrees C (130 degrees F) in less than 10 minutes!

It gets dangerous fast!

The second thing most people don’t realize is how dangerous that is for children. Adults can tolerate temperature over 100 degrees. But because children are so small, they don’t eliminate heat from their body as well as adults.

Infants core temperatures increase 3 to 5 times faster than adults.

So when toddlers or infants are left alone in a hot car their core temperature can increase to over 40 degrees C in less than 10 minutes.

That’s hot enough to serious brain injure, or even kill, a child.

Failure of memory

When something horrible like this happens it is human nature want to cast blame. People say: “I would never forget my child!” Because it reassures us it couldn’t happen to us.

But what Neuroscientists will tell us is that with the demands on our attention and the cognitive distractions we face evey day, anyone can suffer a similar lapse of memory.

Most cases of children being left alone in cars are not intentional.

In most cases these are not failures of love, they are failures of memory and it can happen to anyone.

Teddy bear trick

That’s why KidsandCars recommends some simple reminders to help parents and guardians remember that they have children with them.

My favourtite is what I call “The Teddy Bear Trick”.

Keep a Teddy Bear in your child’s car seat. When you place your child in the car seat, put the Teddy Bear in the passenger seat beside you.

When you get to where you are going, if Teddy is beside you, then you have a little passenger behind you.

Have a safe summer!

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