Cooking Your Kids

Published January 1, 2003

Picture this:

You’re alone in the car. The windows are open a little.

The temperature is rising. It’s hard to breathe.

You need to get out, but you can’t.

You’re strapped in a child’s car seat.

Children are dying as a result of being left alone in a hot car. Without thinking, parents and guardians leave the kid behind for “just a minute” while they run an errand.

When that errand takes longer, a lethal situation occurs: Sunlight enters through the glass and the heat can’t escape efficiently through barely open windows. The interior temperature rises fast.

In a test, a vehicle with tinted glass was cooled down to 70 degrees. The temperature outside was in the low 80s. The vehicle was then parked in the sun with the front driver’s side and passenger side windows cracked about a quarter of an inch.

Within 15 minutes, the temperature inside the car had jumped to more than 120 degrees–hot enough to kill a child strapped in a car seat.

So don’t do it, not even for a minute. Things can happen quickly. Take the child with you, and don’t forget the family pet.

If you see an unattended child in a vehicle, call 911 immediately and report the vehicle location and license number.

IT’S YOUR HEALTH is written by Conrad Meier, senior fellow in health policy at The Heartland Institute. This program is produced as a public service by Radio America. Meier passed away unexpectedly on March 18, 2005.