Coroner’s office urges parents to be vigilant, check back seats for children

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 9:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Following the death of twin boys Wednesday, the coroner’s office is reminding parents to be extra diligent when exiting their vehicles and make sure they don’t leave any children in the back seat.

Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford is urging all parents to please double-check their back seat for children.

“Children this age are often in rear-facing car seats so parents may not notice they are in the vehicle when they get out,” Rutherford said. “So we just ask that parents be diligent and check the back seat. Check to see if you sent a bag with your child. Is the bag still in the car? Is the child still in the car?”

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Newer model vehicles now come with alarms that alert parents if a child or animal is in the backseat.

When you turn the car off, there is a digital warning sign that pops up on the dashboard that reads “check rear seats”.

If the rear door isn’t opened and the car is locked, an ultrasonic motion sensor begins scanning for movement.

When motion is detected, the vehicle will activate its horn for 25 seconds and will repeat that process up to eight times if the motion continues.

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For those who don’t have a vehicle with build-in alerts, here are other tips to help remind you there is a child left in the back seat.

  • Set an alarm on your phone
  • Ask your caregiver to call you
  • Put a purse, wallet, or shoe in the backseat
  • Put the diaper bag in the front seat
  • Use a stuffed animal that usually stays in the car seat (when the child is in the seat, place the stuffed animal in the front as a reminder)

Prisma Health physicians say they’ve seen victims left inside cars in 70-degree weather and the temperature inside the car reached up to 105 degrees.

So it can be dangerous to leave a child in a car in the Fall, as well as, in the Summertime.

According to the National Safety Council, 38 children die each year from heatstroke after being left in a hot car.

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