During hot weather, doctors warn about dangers of leaving children in parked cars

With summer heat, there seems to come the inevitable tragedy, such as children dying after being left in a parked car.

"This past year, there were 37 children that died of heat-related illness. You don't think it's going to happen to you," said Dr. Richard Brucker, a pediatrician at Torrance Memorial Medical Center's Manhattan Beach Urgent Care Clinic.

And yet it happens, time and time again. When it's 100 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can quickly climb to 120 or 130 - add a distracted parent and the results can be deadly.

"Sometimes children fall asleep in a car, and parents are very distracted these days, so they might be doing other things and miss a quiet infant in a car seat in the back," said Dr. Susy Yusong, also a pediatrician at Torrance Memorial.

In pretty much all cases, a parent doesn't intentionally leave the child behind. But now technology can help remind them.

General Motors developed a system that's now in all their new vehicles with four doors called Rear Seat Reminder. If you open then close a rear door, then drive somewhere, when you shut the engine off, you get a visual warning and a loud chime to check the back seat.

But there are other less high-tech ways to remind yourself.

"Put your phone or your bag in the back seat next to the car seat because nobody leaves their car, without their phone," Yusong said.

Doctors, nurses and first responders are hoping that this year nobody leaves their car without their child either.
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