Leaving a child alone in a car is always risky, but in the record heat
this summer, it can be deadly. It can take just 20 minutes for the inside
of a closed car to heat up to a dangerous 109 degrees on an 80-degree day.
Across the United States, 49 children—from 2 months to 6 years old—died
last year after being left in hot cars, a new record. This also brings
the death toll to 495 children since 1998.
Here are a few steps parents can take to prevent a tragic accident.
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly
open. An outside temperature of 101 degrees can easily result in an interior
temperature of 140 degrees.
- If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911. EMS professionals
are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
- Place your cell phone, purse, or other important items needed at your next
stop on the floor in front of a child in the backseat. This triggers adults
to see children when they open the rear door and reach for their belongings.
- Set your cell phone or Outlook reminder to be sure you dropped your child
off at day care. Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare, you
will be called within a few minutes.
- Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or
remote entry devices.
- If a child is missing, check the pool first, and then your car or any other
vehicles at your house, including car trunks.
- Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.