Every summer, there are heartbreaking deaths that occur when children are left alone in a hot car. Although preventable, these deaths do occur. Summer is a good time to remind ourselves of the dangers of children being left in parked cars and of what causes and prevents these tragedies.
Have You Heard These Alarming Facts?
• Heat stroke is the biggest danger and can damage the brain, other organs or even lead to death.
• Each year, approximately 40 children die from heat stroke after being trapped in a car.
• Most children who have died from a heat stroke after being alone in a car are 3 years of age and under, but it has happened to even older kids.
• The temperature inside a car can increase by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be hot outside to be really dangerous inside the car.
• A child’s body heats up to 3-5 times faster than an adult’s body and has not yet developed the same ability to cool down well.
How Does This Happen? There are 3 main causes:
1-When a driver forgets the child is in the car
2-When kids get into unlocked cars without an adult knowing
3-When a child is intentionally left in a car
How Can You Protect Your Child?
You may think it could never happen, but unfortunately, it can happen to anyone. Distractions such as busy schedules, changes in routine and lack of sleep are all possible risks.
• Set up a routine to check the backseat of your car each time you get in and out. Set a cell phone alarm or put a routinely grabbed item (purse, work bag, gym bag) near the child and/or car seat so that you see the backseat upon arrival at your destination.
• Make a habit to remove the cover of a car seat each time you park. While protecting a baby from the sun, the cover can prevent you from seeing the child. This allows you to routinely check the backseat upon arrival at your destination.
• Do not allow children to play in the car. Children can easily be locked inside or trapped in a trunk while it is parked outside.
• Lock all doors and the trunk after everyone is out of the car. For example, lock up after the very familiar “head-count” upon arrival at a location.
• Keep all keys out of reach of children. They may know how to unlock a car from the outside but not from the inside, causing them to get trapped. This also prevents children from setting the car in motion on accident.
• If a child is missing, check a pool if you have one and then check the car, including the trunk.
Never leave a child in a car. Never, not even for a minute! Remember these tips to keep your child safe. Children dying in hot cars are a tragedy that can be prevented!