(needpix.com)

(needpix.com)

One child a year dies after being stuck in hot car on average, Canadian study says

Forgetfulness played a role in four of the six deaths recorded between 2013 and 2018

Accidents in which children die while stranded in hot cars may be more common than people realize, but the authors of a study probing the issue said there are numerous practical habits parents can adopt to ward off such tragedies.

The study from the Hospital for Sick Children concluded an average of one child a year dies across Canada after being trapped in an overheated vehicle, usually because a parent or caregiver forgot they were inside.

Forgetfulness played a role in four of the six deaths recorded between 2013 and 2018, according to the research published last month in Pediatrics and Child Health. The circumstances around a case too recent to be included in the research — the death in May of a 16-month-old in Burnaby, B.C. — are still under police investigation.

Study co-author Dr. Joelene Huber said such accidents can happen to anyone, but stressed that adopting new routines could prevent disaster.

“Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, even for a minute,” she said. ”That should be a rule that you make for yourself: even if I forgot something in the house, I need to run back in the house with the child.”

The majority of the deaths researchers studied involved incidents where a caregiver forgot to drop a child off at daycare.

This included the 2013 death of Maximus Huyskens, a Milton, Ont., toddler who died in the back seat of his grandmother’s car one month shy of his second birthday.

Court heard the woman had collected her grandson from his mother’s home, but mistakenly drove home after working a night shift without dropping him off at daycare as planned. She ultimately pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life and received a suspended sentence plus two years of probation at the joint recommendation of both the Crown and defence lawyers.

To avoid similar tragedies, Huber said parents should arrange to have child-care providers call and sound the alarm if one of their charges is unexpectedly absent.

She also suggested parents implement a few habits meant to guard against forgetfulness, such as placing their cellphones in the back seat of the car whenever a child is sitting there.

“You have to get your cellphone at some point, usually, so that’s a good way to remember,” she said.

ALSO READ: Toddler rescued by firefighters from hot car in Squamish parking lot

ALSO READ: ‘It’s tragic’: Toddler dies after being left in hot car in Burnaby

ALSO READ: Quick-thinking North Shore mom saves baby from hot car

Huber also urged parents to adopt the mantra of “look before you lock” and get in the habit of checking the back seat whenever they leave their vehicle regardless of whether they have a child with them at the time.

But she said the onus isn’t all on the parents. The study suggests adding a section on the perils of hot cars to the Rourke Baby Record, which doctors refer to when teaching new parents about child development and safety.

Bystanders have a role to play, too, Huber said, noting people who spot children alone in hot cars should call 911 immediately even if the child seems alright.

Huber said a ”greenhouse effect” takes place inside cars and can send the internal temperature soaring to deadly levels even when the outside temperature is a relatively cool 21 or 22 degrees Celsius.

The impact is especially dangerous for children, whose bodies are ill-equipped to regulate temperature and can quickly find themselves in danger if exposed to excess heat. Huber said children often experience delirium and then seizures before slipping into a coma or dying.

“If the child is in distress, we’ve talked to the police about this and they would recommend that you do whatever you can to get the child out of that car,” Huber said.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of 5-year-old girl

The woman was charged and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and assault with weapons, including a belt and a spatula

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 2,042 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jason Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

‘It makes no sense for our neighbours and regional states to be sitting on doses that we cannot use,’ the premier said

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)

Most Read