Texas hospitals required to educate new parents on dangers of hot cars

It’s nice to be a step ahead, especially when lives of infants and children could be impacted. Beginning September 1, 2015 Texas will require hospitals to provide discharge education materials for parents of newborns warning about the dangers of heatstroke to children left unattended in motor vehicles. Baylor Scott & White Health – Irving began educating parents in 2010 with their “Backseat Buddy” program.  

“It’s an innovative program that was spurred by news stories about babies and toddlers who died as a result of being left in a hot car,” says Anne Tudhope, RN, director, Women’s and Infant Services, Baylor Scott & White – Irving. “The nurses asked themselves, ‘What could we do to help people remember when there’s a baby in the backseat of the car?’ The Backseat Buddy bears program was their solution.”

The Backseat Buddy program uses a teddy bear keychain to remind drivers not to leave young children in the backseat.

Texas leads the nation in deaths of children left in hot cars, losing 68 children from this cause of death since 1998.

“The new law specifies that parents of newborns must be educated to the risk of leaving an infant in a car unattended,” says Tudhope. “We’ve been doing that for five years and the program is still going strong. We give out about 2,000 Backseat Buddy bears every year.”

Even the best parents can make a fatal mistake. The new legislation aims to educate parents on heatstroke before they leave the hospital, with the hope of saving infant lives.


About the author

Susan Hall
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Susan joined Baylor many years ago when Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the only Baylor facility in the area. When not at work, she’s outside – Big Bend National Park is her favorite with Glacier National Park a close second.

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Texas hospitals required to educate new parents on dangers of hot cars