This Pediatrician's Tips for Preventing Hot Car Deaths Go Viral

This summer Mona Amin, MD, is taking to Instagram to teach parents about the dangers of heat stroke and what you can do to ensure your child isn't left behind.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Assistant Editor
Published June 23, 2022
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Image: Yaoinlove/Shutterstock

As temperatures rise across America, so do the heartbreaking reports of children forgotten in hot cars. Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths in children under 15 years old. While no parent wants to believe this could happen to them, the combination of sleep deprivation, device distraction and a different routine can make even the most attentive parent forgetful.

To bring awareness to the reality of hot car deaths, Mona Amin, MD, a practicing pediatrician, podcaster and social media influencer, took to Instagram Reels to make an informative video about how these deaths continue to happen each year and what you can do to ensure you don’t leave your child behind.

Amin starts the video by showing how temperatures can skyrocket quickly, even on a relatively cool day. “When I recorded this Reel, the car went from 85 to 110 degrees after 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, it went up to 120 degrees,” Amin added in her video’s caption. Continuing, “Most of us think that this won’t happen to us, but that’s why I want to share one of the most common situations that I’ve seen lead to heat stroke in kids: a sleep-deprived caregiver dealing with a change of routine.”

Amin, a mom herself, then went on to share her tips for making sure you don’t forget your child in a hot car.

  • Put your purse, wallet, cellphone, and even one of your shoes in the backseat of your car when you get in. Stepping out onto the hot pavement is an obvious reminder to check the back seat.
  • Get in the habit of checking the back seat to ensure all children are accounted for before locking the car. Even when there aren’t kids in the car, stay in the habit of checking the back seat. It’s important to lock your car everytime as 26 percent of hot car deaths happen when children get into unattended vehicles and can’t get out.
  • Let another caregiver know that your child has been dropped off safely. Especially if you aren’t the parent typically doing drop-off, another caregiver can be a good source of accountability.
  • Teach kids that cars are not a place for playing. Cars are not a place for hide-and-seek, and keys are not toys.

In the hours and days after posting, Amin’s video got rave reviews from moms across Instagram. Mothers add comments to the video like, “Thank you for talking about this! I work with some of the best and brightest, but post-call exhaustion can wipe out all logic, “ and “Great advice!”.

Some moms were also quick to add to the comments other tips and tools for preventing hot car deaths like setting an alarm on your phone, letting your day care know to call you if your child doesn’t get dropped off or using a Clever Elley device.

No matter the tool or tip you choose to use, it’s always important to take a moment when you arrive at your destination to check your backseat. For more information on heat stroke and hot car deaths, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.

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