For some, summer is a fun filled favorite time of year. Summer is also the time of year when the media bombards us with stories of children and adults being left in hot locked cars with the unimaginable happening. Since 1998, 606 children have died from heat strokes and 52% of those were forgotten in vehicles. Seventeen children have died this year alone from heat strokes.
There are very serious and dangerous risks associated with leaving a child in a hot, locked car. A car’s internal temperature can rise by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. A child’s body temperature rises 5 times faster than adults in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Cracking a window does little or nothing to cool the inside of a car. At 104 degrees a child’s organs begin to shut down and 107 degrees a child can die.
To help combat this issue the US Department of Transportation, Health & Human Services and NHTSA have joined forces and launched the ‘Where’s Baby…Look Before You Lock’ campaign.
Here are some tips to help parents and caregivers avoid leaving a child in the car:
- Make it a habit! Always look in the front and back of the car before locking the doors and walking away.
- Place an item you would normally keep on your person in the back seat (i.e. purse, backpack etc.). This will force you to look in the back seat before you leave and lock the car.
- Be your spouses’ accountability partner. Call your spouse every day to make sure they dropped the baby off at the daycare provider.
- Instruct your daycare provider to call you and your spouse if the baby is not dropped off at daycare.
- Set reminders! Set daily reminders on your cell phone with the ‘Baby Reminder’ app. It’s totally FREE! You can also tape a post-it note reminder to your car’s dash and at your desk at work.
- Teach your children that cars are not playgrounds or toys and store keys out of a child’s reach.
If you see a child in a hot locked car call 911 immediately! If the child is in distress remove them and cool their body quickly by spraying them with cold water. Never submerse them in an ice bath as this may cause the body temperature to drop too quickly causing shock.
These are tips/rules we all need to learn and use in our daily travels and while vacationing, visiting malls, water parks or theme parks. Just a few extra seconds a day can avoid a life changing tragedy. For more information, please visit www.safecar.gov/heatstroke and www.safekids.org