Leaving children in cars is dangerous

If anyone experienced the same nightmare as I did this week trying to get across London when the Black Cab drivers were on strike you have my heartfelt sympathy especially if you were attempting to drive your car.

It was a particularly hot day and there were certainly some frayed tempers; hardly surprising given the circumstances, but during my grindingly slow journey I noticed quite a few children in cars. On a couple of occasions I saw people leaving children in cars alone, presumably to pop into a shop for something.  I remember hoping that it wouldn’t be long before they returned to their cars.

Leaving children in cars is dangerous

We hear a great deal about the dangers of leaving dogs in cars during hot weather and see lots of pictures on Facebook and other social media platforms, demonstrating how people are prepared to break car windows in order to help a dog escape the heat.  I have not yet seen anything on social media about leaving children in cars. Considering that the same danger applies I thought I would play my part in drawing attention to it.

Top tips to avoid dehydration on car journeys

If the weather is hot and you absolutely must go somewhere in the car with your children, try to schedule your journey during the coolest part of the day and:

  • If you don’t have air conditioning make sure the car windows are open throughout the journey
  • Under no circumstances leave young children or babies in the car alone irrespective of weather conditions. Even in mild weather the car can rapidly reach a temperature that is dangerous for young children.
  • Children who are ill are especially vulnerable when the weather is hot
  • Utilise sunshades on the car windows

This is sensible behaviour because babies and small children can become dehydrated when they perspire and lose body fluids. You should always carry drinks, preferably water, in the car and dress your children in lightweight clothing, preferably cotton, to help them keep cool.

If you notice any of the following symptoms your child may be dehydrated:

  •  Has a high temperature
  • Is irritable or crying
  • Has a dry and coated-looking tongue and mouth
  • Has hot and dry skin or looks pale
  • Seems tired and lethargic
  • Is not eating or drinking
  • Eyes have a dark or sunken appearance
  • Has fewer wet nappies than usual
  • Vomits or has diarrhoea

A child with one or more of these symptoms may need to see a doctor and if you are anxious that your child is dehydrated you might want to go a hospital.

Note that with an outside temperature of 25 degrees, a car can easily heat up to 45 degrees inside when parked.  Leaving children in cars even for a short while is never a good idea and should be avoided.

This US Child Safety video says it all – Child Safety

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