Kids and Hot Cars Don’t Mix

Ask the Expert
These days we have so much information at our fingertips to help solve any parenting dilemma (admittedly, most of the times we may have too much). You could argue the Internet was both the best and worst thing to ever happen to parenting.

Despite the sometimes overwhelming amount of information, it’s still nice to consult a parenting expert once in a while to get some new ideas, advice and even a dose of perspective.

At LiveMom, we want to help answer your questions. We have a recurring feature called Ask the Expert, brought to you by Baylor Scott & White Health, that will take on a wide range of subjects, from potty training to car seats to dealing with kids and technology to anything in between.

Have a question? Post it below, on our Facebook page or email us and we’ll try to get it answered!

Q: How hot is too hot to leave my child in the car for just a few minutes?

A: Children should never be left unattended in vehicles, for a variety of reasons. Here in Central Texas, especially, the chance of heat stroke is particularly high. With the temperature inside a car rising more than 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, the situation becomes dangerous quickly.

“A child will die when his or her body temperature reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and they can be injured at temperatures below that,” said Avni Shah, DO, Pediatrician, Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Pflugerville.

Unfortunately, dozens of families each year mourn the loss of their children because of Forgotten Baby Syndrome, a situation where a child is accidentally left in the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Look Before You Lock” campaign recommends several strategies for caregivers to avoid this dreaded reality:


·        Storing your purse or cell phone in the backseat near the child forces the parent to open the back door and see the child there.

·        Keeping a token like a large stuffed animal in the front seat when the child is in the rear seat can serve as a visual reminder that he or she is back there. When the child is out, moved the stuffed animal to the child’s seat to store it.

·        Have a strict policy in place with childcare providers about drop-off.  If he or she doesn’t show up as usual, the provider calls the parents immediately to alert them.

·        Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway. If a child goes missing, check the car first.

·        Be especially careful during busy times, like holidays or during times of crisis. This is when many tragedies occur.

*This information is intended for general knowledge and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

Dr. Avni Shah, DO, is board-certified in Pediatrics.

Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Pflugerville

1701 Pflugerville Parkway
Pflugerville, TX 78660

Read more expert medical tips and insights on Baylor Scott & White Health’s Scrubbing In, where hands-on healthcare discussions take place everyday.

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

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