Most people hear the horrific stories of a child left in a hot car during the summer and the sometimes tragic events that occur, due to the negligence of a parent. While this practice is something parents should never engage in, one practice that does not get much news, which is equally dangerous, is leaving a child in the car unattended during the cooler fall and cold winter months.
Unfortunately, parents think their child will be safe if they are bundled up and can remain in their car seat or booster seater, locked in the car, while they run into a store to pick up something quickly. However, quick trips into a store often never happen and a parent may end up spending much longer in the store than they had anticipated. During this time your unattended child is at risk from several hazards including:
Hypothermia – Babies, toddlers, and children’s bodies are not able to generate heat as easily as adults. Their core body temperature can quickly drop, even if they are bundled rather well on the coldest days of the year. A few degrees drop can result in your child shivering because they are cold. If their core temperatures drop even more, they could pass out and appear like they are sleeping, only for their parents to discover later, they have died from overexposure to cold temperatures.
Frost Bite – Children left in a non-running vehicle could also experience frost bite on the exposed areas of their hands, face, and neck. Frost bite essentially kills the nerves in the affected areas and could even present developmental issues later as the child grows and matures.
Hyperthermia – On cool fall days, parents tend to overdress their children, with the good intentions of keeping them warm. However, even on days where temperatures are 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 16 degrees Celsius), the interiors of vehicles can quickly heat up and become extremely hot. Since the child is bundled up in heavy clothing, their body will overheat, just like an unattended child left in a car on a hot summer day.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Some parents might think they are being a great parent by leaving their car running with the heat on to keep their child warm, while they run into a store for a quick errand. Yet again, this could result in the child being poisoned from carbon monoxide gas, especially if there is sufficient snow fall on the ground where the exhaust system is blocked or obstructed. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning appear like the child is sleeping, but if not treated, they could die.
As you can see, leaving a child in a vehicle during the winter is never recommended nor good parenting. You should always take your child with you whenever you exit the vehicle, no matter how long you intend to be away from the vehicle.
To make transporting your baby or toddler easier in the winter and year round, consider car seats with easy to use features, like combination carriers and car seats, available from Toronto baby specialty store, Apple Babies. We invite you stop by and shop our extensive collection of products or call us at 416-546-8483 for further assistance.