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Doctor: Leaving your child in a hot car can have deadly consequences

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Cars can reach staggering temperatures within minutes while sitting outside in the hot sun.

That’s why officials are reminding everyone to prevent children from falling victim to heatstroke.

A 2018 report by the National Safety Council said a little more than 53% of children who died after being left inside a hot car stemmed from caregivers forgetting to take their child out of the vehicle.

Dr. Christopher Furey, a family physician for Care New England, said many times it’s because there’s some type of change in their plans.

“Because of that change in schedule, you’re just in your regular routine and forget that the child is in the backseat tragically,” Furey said. “Very quickly, children can develop serious complications that can be quickly fatal.

The report says nearly 18% of people have knowingly left their child in a hot car. Furey said there’s no safe amount of time to leave a child inside of a vehicle.

“Children are smaller than us,” he said. “They’re not able to regulate their temperature as well…Temperature that might be tolerable for an adult in a car can very quickly be fatal for a smaller child.”

Furey said it’s important to ensure car doors are locked while you’re not in it to prevent a child from accidentally getting stuck inside.

“There have been cases of children climbing into the car at home, not being able to get out, and actually tragically dying,” he said.

Furey said one way to prevent forgetting a child in the back seat is to create some type of reminder, such as placing your wallet or purse next to your child.

He also said creating and practicing a routine is another option, such as placing a stuffed animal in the car seat and ensuring that it is taken out of the car seat before locking it up.

“You know every time you get out of the car, you take the stuffed animal out of the car seat and put it in the front seat,” he explained. “That way you’re in the routine and when the child is there you’re obviously getting the child.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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