Hamad Trauma Center Warns of the Dangers of Leaving Children in Hot Cars

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Hamad Trauma Center Warns of the Dangers of Leaving Children in Hot Cars

With the hot and humid weather expected to continue throughout August and September, the Hamad Trauma Center is warning members of the public about the dangers of leaving children alone in vehicles. 

“With the summer temperatures upon us, we would like to remind the public of the increased risk of leaving children alone in hot cars,” said Dr. Rafael Consunji, Director of the Hamad Injury Prevention Program, the community outreach arm of the Hamad Trauma Center.

“Throughout the summer in Qatar, the temperature inside a parked car can be as much as 40 degrees celsius hotter than the outside temperature. Even on a relatively cool day, the temperature can be over 20 degrees celsius hotter.”

 

“Most of this temperature rise can happen within the first five minutes of turning off the engine and air conditioning, putting children left inside the vehicles at great risk for high fever, dehydration, seizures, heat stroke, and even death. Hot days bring dangers for everyone, but for children, the dangers are magnified. A child’s temperature will rise five times faster than an adult’s temperature, especially on hot days, increasing their risk for dehydration and heat stroke,” explained Dr. Consunji. 

Dr. Consunji explained that even cars parked in the shade can get hot very quickly and that 

the younger the child, the greater their sensitivity to heatstroke, and the faster they can become dehydrated. Dr. Consunji also warned against leaving children in parked cars even if the engine is left running and the air conditioning is on. He explained that air conditioning cannot always be relied upon and any failure in the cooling system could put children at risk. 

“Deaths from heatstroke can happen even when cars are parked in the shade and winding the window down a few centimeters has little effect on rising heat. Additionally, the color of the seats and interior does not affect rising heat and large cars heat up just as fast as small cars. It is not safe to leave a child unattended in a vehicle for any amount of time, even for a minute. If you have to leave your car for any reason, always take your child with you,” said Dr. Consunji.

Dr. Consunji explained that children are sometimes left in hot cars because they are asleep or are forgotten about by busy parents.

“Make a reminder that your child is in the car with you. For example, put your child’s bag or lunch box on the front seat where you can see it or leave an item that you will need on the back seat next to your child. Additionally, never give your child car keys to play with and make sure to keep keys out of reach. This can help to prevent your child from accidentally locking themselves in the car,” added Dr. Consunji.

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