Safe in 60: Strategies to prevent leaving children in hot cars
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Every year, an average of 37 children die from vehicular heatstroke in the United States. Last year that number was even higher: 42.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children.
The most dangerous mistake you can make is to think forgetting a child inside a hot car won’t happen to you or someone you know. Even the best caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping child in a car. Consider that in 55 percent of child deaths from heatstroke, the parent or caregiver left the child in the vehicle unintentionally.
Here is why leaving a child or a pet in a car for even a few minutes is so dangerous:
- Your car has a greenhouse effect and on a warm day, the temperature inside can reach over 120 degrees in minutes
- Cracking the windows doesn’t help
- Parking in the shade does very little to help
Here are 4 strategies to prevent a tragedy:
- Always lock your car at home so your child doesn’t crawl in it without you knowing
- Make it a routine to always look in the back seat before you leave the car
- Place something you always grab by habit in the back seat. Some ideas: your purse, cell phone, wallet or even your left shoe
- Leave your pets home during the summer while running errands to prevent having to leave them in the car
If you see a child or pet in a vehicle and in distress, call 911 immediately and follow the dispatcher’s instructions.
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