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Children left in hot cars decreased during COVID, but doctors worry that could change

Baby in rear facing car seat  has the safety belt on
T. Pleydell/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Each year in the U.S. there were an average of 38 tragic deaths when a child was left in a hot car.

Each year in the U.S. there were an average of 38 tragic deaths when a child was left in a hot car, for a total of 742 fatalities between 1998 and 2017. Just over half of these cases involved a parent unknowingly leaving a child in the car.

But during the pandemic, researchers found the number of children who died due to vehicle hyperthermia was the lowest since 1998. Experts point to multiple explanations, including that more parents have been working from home and driving less. Now, as parents return to the office, researchers predict that pediatric vehicular heatstroke fatalities will increase.

Now a team of Ohio doctors is out with a new white paper examining how a parent can mistakenly leave a child in the car. It discusses prevention measures with a look at the Bag in the Back campaign, which provides strategies for preventing pediatric vehicular heatstroke.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss these prevention strategies are Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics President Elect and Pediatric Associates of Mount Carmel Pediatrician Chris Peltier, MD; and The Sofia Foundation for Children Safety Co-founder and President Karen Osorio.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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