Officials warn parents about dangers of hot cars


GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – A 2-year-old Garden City child remains hospitalized after being left in a hot car over the weekend.

It’s an all-too common case that is now prompting calls for awareness from safety advocates.

“I think it does happen more than we know,” said Captain Randy Ralson of the Garden City Police Department, “but accidents happen.”

Garden City police say they believe that Sunday’s incident that left a toddler in critical condition was an accident.

“When they got to the church,” explained Ralston, “the mother had taken three of the children into the church, and the father was kind of lagging behind, getting stuff out of the vehicle. He then went into church.”

Two hours later, the child was found. Medical professionals say it takes just a short time for that situation to become dangerous.

“In a hot car when the doors are closed, temperature rises much quicker than it does in the outside setting,” said Tiffany Landa, a nurse practitioner.

Children are especially susceptible to the dangers.

“Our blood pressure starts to drop, our heart rate goes up, we start sweating to try to cool the body,” said Landa, “and in children, that happens quicker.”

Organizations like Safe Kids Kansas work to raise awareness for parents, providing easy reminders that there’s a little one in the back seat.

“Always have a stuffed animal with you,” said Donna Gerstner, the Finney County Coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas. “When you buckle the children in the back seat, you also buckle the stuffed animal in the front seat, and that will remind you that there are children in the back, so make sure you grab them.”

She says you should then move the stuffed animal from the front seat to the back. It’s a simple reminder that could have life-saving results.

Gerstner says not to be fooled by what seems like a cooler day.

“You really should never leave a small child in the car at all,” she says, “especially not when the temperatures are going up and down like they are right now this spring.”

At last check, the child was listed in critical condition.

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