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June 10, 2005
Do not leave your kids in the car in hot weather, Toronto Paramedics advise
Toronto Emergency EMS paramedics would like to remind parents and childcare
providers to keep children safe in and around cars in this extremely hot

How does a hot car affect children? Temperatures inside cars can heat up
quickly, creating an environment that could seriously harm or even kill a
child. Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 55
- 78C when the outside temperatures are 27 - 38C. The internal temperature of
the car will increase the most in the first 15 minutes. Leaving the car’s
windows open slightly will not keep the cars temperatures at a safe level.

Children are unable to recognise the signs of heat stress and dehydration. They
also rely on adults to keep them safe. Children are at risk of serious injury
or even death if left unattended in a car on a hot day.

REMEMBER, a car is not a baby-sitter, but it can easily become an oven.

Parents running quick errands may think that their cars will remain cool enough
to leave a child for a few minutes. This is not the case. Here are some tips to
make your errands safer in hot weather:
- Plan ahead to use drive-through services where available (i.e. banks,
dry-cleaners, restaurants and pharmacies)
- Make advance arrangements for your child-care provider to meet you at your
vehicle. Alternatively, plan extra time into your pick-up/drop-off routine to
bring all children inside with you.
- Use your debit/credit card at the gas pumps.
- Load your grocery bags into the car and take your children with you to return
the cart.
- If possible, leave your children at home. Arrange with a baby-sitter or
neighbour to give you an hour to run your errands.

Cars are not only a danger when you are away from home. Remember, while parked
in your driveway, your car can be especially dangerous. Children are naturally
curious and often lack the fear or understanding that the car can be a
dangerous place. Once they crawl into the car, they may not be able to get back
out. In the U.S. last year, more than a third of deaths reported occurred when
children crawled into unlocked cars while playing, became trapped and perished
in the sweltering heat.

Here are some tips to make your car safe:
- Teach your children never to play in or around cars.
- Always lock car doors and trunks even at home.
- Check to make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your
- Don’t overlook sleeping infants
- Make sure to check the temperature of the car seat surface and safety belt
buckles before restraining your child in the car. Skin that touches car seat
surfaces that are over 66?C or 150?F can be severely burned in seconds.
- Keep car keys out of sight and reach.
- Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the
- In most new cars, there is a glow-in-the-dark trunk release latch. Make sure
your child knows where it is and how to use it.
- If a child is missing, check vehicles and trunks immediately.


Remember to drink lots of water and stay in the shade. Please keep your child’s
safety in mind and we can all have a safe, enjoyable summer. NEVER leave a
child unattended in a car.

For more information, please see our Web site or contact
Toronto EMS Community Medicine Program at or call

Media contacts:
Dean Shaddock, Toronto EMS Community Medicine Program,
pager 416-370-9866
Larry Roberts, Toronto EMS Media Relations, 416-392-2255



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