Hot Cars: Why Leaving Children Unattended In Stationary Vehicles Can Prove To Be Life-Threatening

The Logical Indian Crew

April 5th, 2018

Image Credit: No Heat Stroke

Did you know that a stationary vehicle can pose a great threat to your children? The idea of leaving behind your little one in the locked car while you tend to your other work may seem harmless, but it can have dangerous repercussions.


Heat strokes after getting trapped in stationary vehicles

Being trapped in a stationary vehicle can lead to heat stroke or hyperthermia. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises above 40 degree Celsius or more. Little children and even pets get trapped in vehicles as they are unable to open the locks of the vehicle doors.

While the temperature outside may seem bearable, the temperature inside a vehicle elevates very rapidly.

In a country like that of ours, temperature rise has continued to break all records over the time. One of the other major reasons why children face severe injury or even death due to heat stroke is because they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults. Their body temperature rises three to five times faster than that of adults.

When all doors and windows are closed, your vehicle starts behaving like a greenhouse. Which means that sun rays enter cars and remain trapped there, increasing the temperature drastically. As per a study, 80% of the temperature occurs in the first 30 minutes, even in cool and ambient temperature. Leaving the window partly open also does not make much of a difference.



36 children die every year in hot cars

According to a report by CNN, 36 children die every year in hot cars. While this might not be very common in India, it is important we take precautionary measures.

On April 5, a five-year-old boy died reportedly after locking himself accidentally in a car in Pune district. Although the cause of death is not ascertained, it is believed to be due to suffocation. Last year too, in June, an eight-year-old boy went missing from his house and was found after five hours. He had burn marks all over his body and his mouth was bleeding. Reports say he accidentally locked himself in the car and died of heat stroke. In August 2017, two sisters died of suffocation after accidentally locking themselves in a car in Moga, Punjab.

The Logical Indian spoke to Dr Ram Gopal Gupta of District hospital, Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, to get more insight on this issue, he said, “There is a twofold reason why leaving behind your child in a stationary vehicle might not be a good idea. The first reason is that the child may panic due to getting trapped. The other reason is that in a closed vehicle there is a limited amount of oxygen, levels of which keep dropping over the time, this leads to malfunctioning of the hypothalamus. Hypothalamus in our brain is responsible for temperature regulation and when it malfunctions, we start perspiring profusely and start feeling uneasy. The situation, if escalated may lead to heatstroke and in some cases, even death.”

Many countries around the world have been seeing cases like these, compelling governments to come up with specific laws to combat this problem. About 19 states in the United States of America have laws which make it illegal to leave a child unattended in a car.

We should realise the dangers of children getting trapped in hot vehicles. Kids should also be made aware of the risk as very often while playing, they may accidentally lock themselves and not know how to unlock cars.

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