The dangers of leaving kids in cars during the winter


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Most people have heard the horror stories about children being locked in cars during the hot summer months, but what is often less talked about is the similar dangers associated with leaving kids in cars during the winter.

According to Boston Children’s Hospital, a child can suffer several cold related injuries, such as hypothermia or frostbite, and according to, although uncommon, several children have died of hypothermia after being left in a vehicle during near freezing temperatures. In addition, Boston Children’s Hospital states a child can face heat exhaustion or heat stroke during a situation where the child is bundled in too many layers of winter clothing while left in a vehicle for too long.

Locally, Jessica Schibata, a mother of two, admits to the temptation of wanting to leave her newborn in her car for a few minutes, but Schibata adds the risk of possible harm to her child outweighs everything else. Schibata says, “it has definitely crossed my mind, but I don’t want her to get hurt because of the elements, or have the car get stolen, or something scary like that.”

The Grand Junction Police Department says one of the bigger risks it sees in the Grand Valley during the winter months is an uptick in car theft. Callie Berkson from the Grand Junction Police Department says, “while car thieves aren’t necessarily looking to kidnap your child, if you leave your car running, unattended, and with a child in it, you are taking an extremely big risk.”

GJPD adds if you notice a child in a car who is in distress, to first locate the owner of the vehicle, and if you cannot find the owner, then to call 9-1-1.

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