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Preventing Hot Car Deaths

As we head into summer, an emergency medicine physician offers advice for parents to help prevent hot car deaths.

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CLEVELAND – As temperatures continue to heat up this summer, Purva Grover, MD, emergency medicine physician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s, is reminding parents about the dangers of leaving their child in a hot car.

It may sound like common sense, but every year multiple deaths are reported.

“It’s heart wrenching when this happens because it’s usually a very tired or exhausted parent juggling 17 things and this is the most horrible feeling to come to terms with,” said Dr. Grover. “One would think how does that happen, but it happens.”

Dr. Grover said there are so many different scenarios where a parent or caregiver could forget a child in the backseat. For example, maybe they aren’t normally the one who takes the child to daycare and went straight to work instead.

And it’s not just outside temperatures that are the concern. Even on a 70 degree day, the inside of a car can reach more than 115 degrees.

To help prevent such a tragic accident, she recommends leaving something like your purse, shoe or cellphone in the backseat. She knows it seems strange, but if it’s something you immediately need when you get out of your vehicle, you’ll be more inclined to not forget.

“As a bystander, if you see something, do not hesitate. This could save a life, so call the police, call whoever you need to,” she said. “Get these kids out as soon as you can and take them to the appropriate medical facility if exhaustion and or fatigue has set in.”

Dr. Grover also advises parents to lock up their vehicles once they park. Children have died after climbing inside while playing and have accidentally gotten trapped.

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