Hot car safety UAB pediatrician weighs in on how to keep your children safe in the summer heat

hot car safety
Mother and daughter taking a break. (Anvesh / Unsplash)

When temperatures rise during the summer, it becomes increasingly dangerous to leave children in the car. Read on to find out how you can keep your children safe with tips from UAB’s Dr. Somerville.

Hot car safety tips and children

According to Dr. Carlie Stein Somerville, Assistant Professor and Pediatrician at UAB, it only takes a few minutes for kids to overheat when left inside a car. In fact, a child’s organs can begin to shut down at a temperature of 104 degrees—and children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than that of an adult. 

Dr. Somerville recommends setting reminders to remember that your child is in the car.

Forms of Reminders

Parents can forget their child in the car due to: 

  • Changes in daily routine 
  • Sleep deprivation 
  • Stress while trying to make appointments and/or plan activities

Here are two ways for parents to make sure they remember their child is in the car:

  • Place an object, like your purse, shoe, or phone, in the backseat
  • Sit your child’s toy in the front seat

Keep your kids hydrated and safe

Since kids love to play, it is important for parents to teach their children that the car isn’t a playground. They need to know that hiding in the car or playing with the locks can quickly become a safety hazard. 

Parents should also keep their children hydrated and make sure not to:

  • Leave water bottles inside the car that will become hot
  • Crack car windows because the car is still prone to get hot

Here’s what parents should do:

  • Park in shaded areas
  • Have a cooling towel or seat covers 

Check out more safety tips in this article: Here are UAB’s 3 ways to keep your kids safe in cars for your summer travels.

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Camille Womack
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