Lurie Children's Warns Parents Not To Leave Children In Cars In Extreme Heat

Mike Krauser
July 19, 2019 - 1:05 pm
Emergency Room Dr. Michelle Macy

WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Doctors at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital are urging parents to think before leaving children in cars in this weather.   

A thermometer placed in a car parked in the sun outside the hospital in the Streeterville neighborhood quickly went to 119 degrees - that was 20 degrees hotter than the air temperature at the time.   

Emergency Room Dr. Michelle Macy said young children can't last long.  

"Young children will heat up three to five times faster than you or I will and we know that these heat-related deaths that happen to kids who are left in cars are happening to the youngest children, those who aren’t able to recognize that their bodies are over-heating and aren’t able to rescue themselves and get out of a car," Dr. Macy said.

A thermometer placed in a car parked in the sun outside the hospital in the Streeterville neighborhood quickly went to 119 degrees - that was 20 degrees hotter than the air temperature at the time.   
WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

If you see a child in distress in car, she said, by all means, get them out. Call 911. Break a window if you have to.   

"If you have a child who doesn’t look like they are sitting up and alert that would be one way to ensure that you’re stopping the heat event that’s going to cause permanent damage," she said.

She said if the heat doesn’t kill the child they can have permanent kidney and brain damage.  

"How can somebody forget a kid in a car?" said Jessica Choi, Community Outreach at the Hospital.

She said there are generally one of three scenarios when children die in hot cars: Sometimes it’s a change of routine that leads to a child being left in a car. It may be that a parent who doesn't normally take them to daycare forgets that the child is there. Sometimes a parent thinks they’ll be okay for a short time, she said, and sometimes kids sneak into cars and get stuck.

Choi suggests putting a reminder in the back seat.

“Our cellphone. Put a purse or a wallet back there.  Anything that will help jog our memory that, hey our kid is in the back seat here," she said.

According to Dr. Macy, 21 children have already died from heat stroke in cars in the U.S.

"Last year there was one child for every month of the year,” she said.