RWJ nurse offers ways to keep kids from being left in a hot car

BY Raven Santana, Correspondent |

There are a number of ways a child can get stuck in a hot car — a parent thinks there’s time to run a quick errand, a kid traps themselves in a vehicle, or a toddler is forgotten by a caregiver. But a Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital nurse says there are ways to prevent this very dangerous situation from ever happening.

According to the injury prevention organization Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, every 10 days a child in the US dies from heat stroke in a vehicle.

“Think of your car as a greenhouse. It’s a sealed box with a lot of windows, so the heat is absorbed and it stays in there. And like the oven in your kitchen, the heat is retained until you open the door and allow the heat to come out,” said Jim Doherty, who works in the Pediatric Emergency Department at the New Brunswick hospital.

While it may be tempting to leave a child in the car when running into a store, Doherty says it can be a deadly mistake — one that is being made too often nowadays.

Doherty also claims that there are simple ways to avoid forgetting a child in the backseat.

“Carry out the acronym ACT. ‘Avoid’ heatstroke by not placing your child in the car alone. ‘Create’ reminders to help you look in the front and back seat of the car before you leave the vehicle and T would be ‘to take action.’ If you see a child alone in the car by themselves call 911 so the child can safely be removed by a professional,” said Doherty.