Prevent Hot Car Deaths

Prevent Hot Car Deaths

44 children died last year from heat stroke inside cars.
Forty-four children died last year from heat stroke inside cars.

Accidentally leaving a child behind in a hot car has happened to parents from all walks of life - a CEO of a hospital, a vice principal, a preacher and so many others. Fatigue, anxiety or distractions can throw anyone's life off course. Consumer Reports explains the danger and how to avoid it.

When Lyn Balfour's son Bryce was nine months old, a change in routine and an emergency phone call from work led to the unthinkable.

Lyn didn't realize, instead of dropping Bryce off with his babysitter, she'd left him behind in the car in her office parking lot and went into work.

"I couldn't believe that I could forget my own son and how that was possible. And the next thing I thought was how was I going to tell my husband that I killed his son," Balfour said.

The high temperature that day - only 66 degrees. On an 80-degree day, Consumer Reports engineers found even with the windows partially open, the temperature jumped to 110 degrees in just eight minutes.

Consumer Reports evaluated a car seat that's supposed to sense a child's weight and alert you once you turn off the car.

Jennifer Stockburger with Consumer Reports said, "These technologies are not quite there. They're somewhat inconsistent, unreliable and in fact this seat isn't even manufactured anymore."

Mobile apps like Baby Reminder and Infant Reminder are also supposed to alert parents. But Consumer Reports says ideally technology should be integrated into the carseat or car.

"We have bells that remind us that we're low on gas, that we didn't buckle our seat belts. Why not one to remind us that we left our child in the car," Stockburger wonders.

For now, keep something you need like your cell phone in the back seat to remind you to check for your child.

"If you think it cannot happen to you, you're wrong. And I'm here to tell you that I was one of those parents that did and I made the mistake, the ultimate price," Balfour said.

Be aware that children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke because their body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's. So even leaving children in a car for just a few moments is very dangerous.
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