IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – Children becoming sick or even dying after being left in an extremely hot car – it is a story that is told far too many times each summer. But a new program at Baylor Medical Center at Irving is working to educate parents and prevent these tragedies.

Jamie Duarte and her husband are eager to bring their newborn baby home. “I’m looking forward to going home, relaxing,” said the new mom. The family is also taking home some lessons on how to keep little Sophie safe inside a hot car. “I think it’s good because a lot of people don’t think about it.”

The Duartes went through a program at the hospital called ‘Backseat Buddies,’ designed for new parents. Moms and dads have a little bear attached to car keychains. When a kid leaves the carseat, he or she is replaced with the bear, which essentially acts like a string around the finger, reminding parents about their children.

Emergency room doctors have seen many cases of children left in hot cars, and said that kids can overheat and become seriously injured more quickly than adults. “The cars can be 120, 140, 150 degrees. You’re talking minutes for something that’s very preventable,” said Dr. Charles Su. “They can have seizures. They can have brain injuries. Most of them will die from the heat.”

All new parents at Baylor Medical Center at Irving go through the program, and it seems to be working. “A mom called me and said she was getting ready to go back to work, and she had the bear on her keychain,” explained prenatal educator Tina Austin. “She looked down at the keychain and said, ‘Don’t forget to go by the day care and drop off the baby.’”

As for the Duartes, they said that they could not imagine leaving their little one behind in a hot car. But it will be useful to have an extra little reminder. “I think it’s a good idea,” said Duarte. “Too many kids are being left in the cars.”

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