Summer is filled with days of family fun as we enjoy the warm weather with picnics, beach visits and vacations.
But as the temperature continues to rise I would like to remind parents and caregivers about the dangers of leaving children in a car.
You might think it’s impossible to forget there is a kid in a car. That only happens to irresponsible parents, you might say.
It can happen to anyone.
Even the greatest parents can get distracted from their routine and forget a sleeping baby in the backseat.
In 2013, 44 children died of heatstroke after being left in a car nationwide. Another 13 fatalities have been reported this year already.
As summer temperatures peak, it only takes a few minutes for a car to heat up and become deadly to children inside.
In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees and cracking the windows does little to keep the car cool. With temperatures even in the 60s, a car can heat up to well above 110 degrees. Summer temperatures cause vehicles to heat up even faster.
That’s why it is important that all adults should always remember to “Look Before You Lock” to make sure there are no children left in the vehicle.
I urge parents and caregivers to take the following precautions to prevent heatstroke incidents from occurring:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat.
Also, heatstroke death and injuries often occur after a child gets into an unlocked vehicle to play without a parent or caregiver’s knowledge. Always keep your car locked and store keys out of a child’s reach. Teach your children that a vehicle is not a play area.
If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
Taking these simple steps could save a life.
Have a safe and enjoyable summer.