Dangers of leaving children unattended in hot vehicles

As the sweltering heat of summer arrives, the temperature inside your car can reach life-threatening levels which is why it’s important that you never leave a child unattended.

Posted: Jun 10, 2021 7:01 PM

Lafayette, LA - As the sweltering heat of summer arrives, the temperature inside your car can reach life-threatening levels which is why it’s important that you never leave a child unattended.

"You do have people thinking ‘man I’m just going to run into the convenient store, I’ll be back out in five minutes.’ What you don’t realize is in that five-minute span, some very very bad thing can happen," said Interim Senior Medical Director for Blue Cross-Blue Cross Shield Doctor Lawrence.

One of those things is heatstroke, Simon says children don’t have the ability to regulate their body temperature as well as adults.

"A child can die if their body reaches 107 degrees. That can actually happen in a car with the windows closed when the temperature is as cool as 60 degrees. So, this isn’t even a summer month issue, this is a year-round issue," he said.

State trooper Thomas Gossen says while most incidents involving children being left in cars unattended are honest mistakes...That doesn’t mean you can’t find yourself in legal trouble.

"Louisiana law states that leaving a child unattended in a vehicle means this, unattended means the child who was left in the vehicle when the driver is more than 10 feet away and unable to continually observe that child," Gossen said.

Gossen recommends simply placing something of importance in the backseat near the child.

"I know it sounds crazy but take a shoe off, put one shoe in the back with that child because as soon as you step out, you’re going to realize I don’t have a shoe on. Or put something important back there, preferably a cell phone, something that you're not going to forget," he said.

Simon says having a plan with your family can go a long way in preventing tragedy. "Parent's double checking each other. Talk to your older kids about making sure we all know where the baby is, where the toddler is, where the young one is."

In addition to never leaving children unattended in a hot car, your pets should also never been left alone as they too can suffer from a heatstroke.

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