Children’s doctors warn of hot cars

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With summer in full swing in Gastonia, NC, children’s doctors remind you that an unventilated car can become dangerously hot in a matter of minutes. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume that everybody knows not to leave their child in a hot car and nobody actually wants to do this. The tragedy is that the parents who end up doing this also didn’t want to.

Many people imagine that this could only be done by someone either hopelessly careless or stupid, or else sociopathically indifferent. Most people honestly believe that they themselves are incapable of doing such a thing. And yet, there have been cases of loving parents, people as responsible and intelligent as anyone you know, who bear the weight of guilt for a child’s death because of a single inexplicable mistake. How does this happen?

Blind spots in the mind

You’ve probably heard that your eye has a blind spot, where there’s a hole in the optic disc of the retina that the optic nerve goes through. You have to make a special effort to see it, because your brain fills in the gap with what it assumes is there. Human memory is full of blind spots, and your brain fills those up in exactly the same way. It fudges details. It resets itself with every new situation — think of all the times you’ve walked into a room and immediately forgotten why you came in. And it replaces any truth you’re not looking directly at with its own sense of your everyday routine.

This may be why the number of cases of children dying in hot cars increased when the law required that small children be kept in the backseat. Suddenly, if a child falls asleep back there and is no longer in line of sight, it becomes easy for the brain to decide the baby is with the other parent or has been dropped off at day care. Brains suffering from stress or lack of sleep are especially vulnerable to this.

Children’s doctors say there are a number of things you can do to keep your own mind from betraying you. One is to put something you’re going to use, such as your purse or cell phone, on the seat next to your child. Another is to take off one shoe and put it in the backseat. No matter how distracted you are, the minute your bare foot touches the parking lot you’ll realize something’s wrong.

A children’s doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a pediatric clinic in a convenient location within the Charlotte area. It is one of the first medical practices for children in this area, and is owned and directed by its own physicians. It offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day, and has provided personalized service to three generations of families. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. If you need a children’s doctor, call Gastonia Pediatrics today.