We are not only talking about parking the car in the sun, although it is logical that the car will get hotter much quicker than if it were left in the shade, which obviously makes it much more dangerous.
A car left in the sun acts like an oven: absorbing the sun’s heat with no means of escape, it acts like a greenhouse in which the temperature continues to increase ever faster. Once it reaches its equilibrium with the outside temperature we could be talking about as much as 60ºC.
We are reminded by the Spanish Pediatric Society that, a small child between say 1 and 5 years of age, can die within 30 to 60 minutes if they are left in an unventilated car during summer.
The principal reason why children are more vulnerable:
- They have a greater body surface area than an adult in proportion to their weight and so absorb heat quicker.
- Their bodies contain a higher proportion of water than an adult’s.
- Children are less able to hydrate themselves than an adult and so they dehydrate very quickly.
There are various reasons for anyone to leave a child in the car. Perhaps because they simply forgot, a change of routine such as the end of the school year and the start of the holidays, or for some unexpected reason that takes the parent’s attention away from what they are doing, ending in tragedy.
It could be about negligence, which shouldn’t be forgotten, but it might also be because children distracted by a game such pretending to be the driver manages to lock themselves in the car without realizing.
If a child is left in a car, we must act quickly and try to get them out as soon as possible and you should quickly inform the emergency services of the situation and they will give you advice on what to do next.
Faced with this situation, and feeling that the child is in danger, the steps to follow are:
- Try to open the vehicle. If you are unable to because you don’t have the key or because they are locked inside, break a window, taking care not to injure the child.
- First of all cool the body, by removing them to a cooler are or by placing them in tepid water (never cold), place a damp towel on their head, keep wetting it to remain cool, The use of a fan is a good idea.
- If the child is conscious give them liquids in small regular sips. It is advisable to lift the head up.
It is important to try to avoid this situation from ever arising by always being attentive to our children, by keeping a close eye on them and by trying to minimize unnecessary distractions by always knowing where and how are children are at all times.