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Kids-in-Car Deaths: Survey Finds Parents Deny It Can Happen to Them

Child-safety experts advise always checking the back seat, regardless of whether your child is supposed to be with you, to avoid accidentally forgetting them in the car. (Twenty20)
Child-safety experts advise always checking the back seat, regardless of whether your child is supposed to be with you, to avoid accidentally forgetting them in the car. (Twenty20)
August 7, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Temperatures will top 90 degrees in much of Arkansas this week, and with that comes the concern of children being left in cars. Last year, 43 children died of heat stroke after being left in a hot car, including an Arkansas child who was left in a day-care van.

This month, Kars for Kids - a car-donation nonprofit - released the results of a survey that found only 16 percent of parents surveyed think they might forget and leave their child in a hot car.

Ari Finkelstein, a media relations representative for the organization says incidences are higher in our region.

"We believe it does happen more often in southern states," he says. "They think it happens to bad parents, to irresponsible, neglectful parents. They think a lot of these parents are doing it intentionally, and they just don't think that such a thing can happen to themselves."

Forgotten Baby Syndrome describes the ability for a parent to unintentionally leave a child confined in a car, and scientists say it's possible because busy parents' brains may go on "autopilot" with such routine activities as driving to and from work. Numerous smartphone apps are available that create an alert for parents to check their back seat before exiting their car.

Finkelstein says only 15 percent of parents take precautions, but adds that you don't have to invest in technology for an extra measure of protection.

"It's recommended to leave something like a teddy bear in the car seat when your child is not in the car, and whenever the child is there, you put the teddy bear into the front seat," he adds. "That will always serve as a reminder."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - AR