Look, Then Lock! Children Continue to Die Unattended in Cars

Rutgers Health Emergency Physician Offers Tips for Preventing Tragedies


  • newswise-fullscreen Look, Then Lock! Children Continue to Die Unattended in Cars

    Credit: Source: NoHeatStroke.org

    Circumstances resulting in pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths (1998-2018).

Newswise — New Brunswick, NJ— The statistics and dangers are real. Yet according to the National Safety Council (NSC), on average, there are still more than three dozen children dying in parked cars every year. In 2018, that number climbed to 52. There were three cases that made the news just in the past two weeks. 

With each headline we ask, how and why does this continue to happen? As demonstrated in the chart below, the largest number of deaths are caused by children being forgotten in cars. Most think that it could never happen to them. However, the experts say this simply is not true. Dr. Ernest G. Leva, professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital says, “Life gets in the way, and when we do things that are off our daily routine, accidents and sometimes tragedies can happen.”

Dr. Leva, who provides pediatric emergency services as part of Rutgers Health, suggests creating new routines and reminders. For example, do not toss personal items in the passenger seat. Make a conscious effort to put briefcases, wallets, purses, cell phones and your lunch in the backseat - even when you are not transporting children.

Also, get into the habit of “looking, then locking.” Check the backseat before you lock your door.

As a number of summer days still lie ahead, keep the following facts from the NSC in the forefront of your mind:

  • A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult.
  • Children do not perspire as much as adults, making it more difficult to cool their bodies.
  • On average, vehicle temperatures can rise 19 degrees in only 10 minutes.

Maybe the most surprising fact…

  • Heatstroke can occur when outside temperatures are as low as 57 degrees.

The bottom line, according to Dr. Leva: “Automobiles get real hot, real fast. But parents should never leave children in a vehicle, whether it is hot or not, whether it is for 10 minutes or two minutes. Just don’t do it.”                                                                                       

About Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

As one of the nation’s leading comprehensive medical schools, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research, health care delivery, and the promotion of community health. Part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School encompasses 20 basic science and clinical departments, and hosts centers and institutes including The Cardiovascular Institute, the Child Health Institute of New Jersey, and the Women’s Health Institute. The medical school has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 100 medical schools in the nation for research and primary care.

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health facility and the medical school’s principal affiliate, comprise one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers. Clinical services are provided by more than 500 faculty physicians in 200+ specialties and subspecialties as part of Rutgers Health, the clinical arm of Rutgers University. Rutgers Health is the most comprehensive academic health care provider in New Jersey, offering a breadth of accessible clinical care throughout the state supported by the latest in medical research and education.

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School maintains educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels on its campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway and provides continuing education courses for health care professionals and community education programs. With more than 5,500 alumni since the start of its first class in 1966, the medical school has expanded its comprehensive programming and educational opportunities and is at the forefront of innovative curriculum development and a visionary admissions program. To learn more about Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, visit rwjms.rutgers.edu.

About Rutgers Health

Rutgers Health is the most comprehensive academic health care provider in New Jersey, offering a breadth of accessible clinical care throughout the State supported by the latest in medical research and education. Rutgers Health connects health care providers across disciplines, including doctors, nurses, dentists, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, and behavioral health and addiction professionals with a single focus:  helping people and populations get well and stay well by delivering consistent, coordinated, value-based health care. For more information, visit RutgersHealth.org.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) New Brunswick (www.rwjbh.org/newbrunswick), an RWJBarnabas Health Facility, is a 600-bed academic medical center that serves as the principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care,

stroke care, neuroscience, orthopedics, bariatric surgery and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch.org).  A Level 1 Trauma Center and the first designated Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.

 

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