Even in the midst of COVID-19 dangers, leaving kids in cars is not an option

Keeping Kids Safe

People may be leery to bring children in the store with them because of coronavirus concerns, but leaving them in the car -- even for just a few minutes -- can be life-threatening

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – On Tuesday, Youngstown hit a record high of 90 degrees. As temperatures soar, it’s another reminder for parents about the dangers of leaving kids in the car. The COVID-19 pandemic has also added another layer to this concern.

While we are still learning to live in a time when the coronavirus is all around us, doctors are warning parents to remember another threat to kids.

You may not want to take your child into the store with you because of coronavirus concerns, but you absolutely may not leave them alone in a car.

Even on mild or cloudy days, the temperature inside of a car can reach life-threatening levels.

“A kid’s body is going to increase their body temperature much faster than an adult would,” said Dr. Ayan Sanyal, family medicine physician for Steward Medical Group.

Leaving a child in a hot car is extremely dangerous.

“It could lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke very quickly,” Sanyal said.

The child could die within minutes. Last year, 52 children lost their lives nationwide after being left in a hot car. That’s just one less than in 2018, which was the deadliest year on record, according to statistics from the National Highway Safety Administration.

Experts say it’s up to everyone to help prevent these tragedies.

“We need to make sure we’re not allowing these kids to get into these situations in the first place,” Sanyal said.

If it’s between taking your child into a store or leaving them in the car, the decision should be easy. Leaving them inside of the car, even if it’s only for a few minutes, is absolutely not an option.

“If you do have to bring a young child with you, talk with them before you go in about why you need to wear a mask and why it’s really important to stay close by because you’ll be the one to help them keep that social distance from other people,” Sanyal said.

Doctors are recommending parents and caregivers have a designated person running errands while another stays home with the kids.

There are other options, too, like curbside pick-up.

“You can still take your child on a nice car ride to get them out of the house, but you don’t have to bring them inside of the store. You can just have a no-contact drop-off of your purchase to your vehicle,” Sanyal said.

Common reasons kids are left in cars and resources to keep them safe

Printable reminders to prevent tragedy

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