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Never leave child in hot car

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DENVER – Injury prevention experts from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment warn parents and caregivers never to leave a child unattended in a hot vehicle, even if it’s just for a few minutes or if the windows are open.

Barbara Bailey, an injury prevention specialist with the Colorado SAFE KIDS Coalition, at the Department of Public Health and Environment, said, “A young child can die from heat stroke or can experience permanent injury when left in a hot vehicle. A child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult.”

Just last week in Denver, a 2-year-old boy died after being left in car when it was 93 degrees outside. Although his babysitters left three windows rolled down in the car while they spent an estimated 15 to 40 minutes inside an insurance office, the boy’s internal temperature reached 107 degrees, causing his death.

Bailey explained that heat rapidly overwhelms the body’s ability to regulate temperature. The body can go into shock, causing circulation to vital organs to fail.

“When the outside temperature is 93 degrees, even with a window cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in just 20 minutes and approximately 140 degrees in 40 minutes,” Bailey said.

To prevent heat-related injuries in cars, Bailey provided the following safety precautions for parents:

– Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, in any weather, even with the windows down.

– Teach children not to play in, on or around vehicles.

– Always lock car doors and trunks – even at home – and keep keys out of the reach of children.

– Watch children closely around vehicles, particularly when loading or unloading items.

– Don’t overlook sleeping infants. Always check the back seat before leaving a vehicle.

– If a child gets locked inside a vehicle, dial 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.

– To avoid burns, make certain car seats and seat belt buckles aren’t overly hot when restraining children in a vehicle that has been parked in the heat.

n Use a light covering to shade the seat of a parked vehicle. Consider using windshield shades in front and back windows.

For more information, call (303) 692-2589.


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