Prevent hot car deaths
Remember these hot tips to avoid tragedy.
Juice Staff Published: 7/11/2019
Did you know that every year, 38 children on average die nationwide in a hot car due to a “pediatric vehicular heatstroke?” Last year, there were 52 hot car deaths, the worst since 1998.
In the summer, temperatures inside a parked car can reach up to 140 degrees. Even in cooler months, temps can quickly rise 50 degrees higher than outside.
So how do hot car deaths happen? More than half are due to forgetfulness. We’ve all heard stories where a well-meaning parent forgets a child is in the back seat, usually because this is a break from their normal routine.
Other accidents occur because an adult mistakenly thinks it’s safe to leave a little one in a hot car for a minute to quickly run into a store. But in actuality, leaving a child in a hot car could lead to heatstroke in just 10 minutes.
In some cases, people forget to lock their vehicles and a young child gains access on their own.
“No matter what, never leave a child or pet unattended inside a hot car -- even if the windows are cracked or the car is parked in the shade,” said Cynthia Dennis, RN, coordinator, Safe Kids Northeast Florida, led by THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health. “And always remember to lock your vehicle to keep a child from getting inside.” To prevent hot car deaths, Dennis recommends remembering to “ACT” -- avoid injury, create reminders, and take action:
A – Avoid Injury. Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Also, remember to make sure your car doors are locked when you aren’t in your vehicle to keep kids from getting in on their own.
C – Create reminders. If it’s not your usual routine to have a child in the car with you, create a reminder by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
T - Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel wants you to call! One call could save a life.
Other tips to prevent leaving a child in a hot car, according to Dennis, include:
- If you drive with your right foot, leave your left shoe in the backseat next to your child or pet.
- Make it a habit to look in the back seat before closing and locking the doors
- Set an alarm with a different ringtone to remind you that you have a child with you.
For more tips, visit wolfsonchildrens.com/safekids