FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Lutheran Children’s Hospital is reminding parents and caregivers that they need to protect kids in the back seats of cars and vehicles while out in this extreme heat.

Dr. Stefanie Paulsen, a pediatric physician at the hospital, warned in a media release that the leading cause of heatstroke in children is from being left or trapped in a vehicle.

“Heatstroke can happen quickly in children because their bodies are smaller and heat up faster,” Paulsen said. “Heatstroke fatalities can even happen to children in vehicles parked in shaded areas, with windows down and in temperatures under 60 degrees.”

“But they are also completely preventable by following a few simple rules,” she added.

  • Never leave a child in a car unattended, since cars can reach very high temperatures even in the sahde and with the windows down.
  • Don’t allow children to play in the car. Keep car doors locked and keys out of reach at all times.
  • Make a habit of checking your car’s back seat before parking and locking up for the day. Even the most attentive people can forget a child due to lack of sleep or changes in routine, according to Paulsen. Placing a wallet or a cell phone in the backseat will help enforce a check out of habit.
  • Check for hot car seats and metal buckles before placing a child in the car to avoid contact burns.
  • Call 911 if you see an unattended child in a vehicle.