Never leave kids in cars when the weather gets warm

Monday, May 20, 2013

We enjoy the changing of the seasons, but sometimes it takes a while to remember the lessons we learned the previous year.

It's annoying when we can't find our windshield scraper after the first frost, or discover we should have had the air conditioner serviced before the first heatwave.

It's downright dangerous, however, when we forget how hot it can get inside a closed vehicle.

In fact, studies show that heatstroke can occur on days with relatively mild temperatures, about 70 degrees.

Heatstroke in vehicles is the leading cause of all non-crash-related fatalities involving children 14 and younger (61 percent) according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Since 1998, an average of 38 children per year, about one every 10 days, have died in automobiles as a result of heatstroke.

This year, the NHTSA is partnering with the National Weather Service to stress the importance of avoiding such tragedies.

They offer the following guidelines:

1. Never leave a child or young children unattended in a vehicle, not even for a minute.

2. If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, cal 9-1-1.

3. Check to make sure seating surfaces and equipment (child safety seat and safety belt buckles) aren't hot when securing your child in a safety restraint system in a car that has been parked in the heat.

4. Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies or pets.

5. Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, always check the car first, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.

6. As a visual reminder keep a stuffed animal in the car seat, and, when the child is placed in the seat, place the animal in the front with the driver.

7. Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

8. Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for childcare.

9. Use the slogan "Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat," or "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock" to educate the public.

Remember, never leave a child unattended in a vehicle!

Children are much more sensitive to rising temperatures than adults so pay close attention to the above tips during ALL seasons.

Check out these web sites for more information:

NHTSA ... "Get Involved" and "Where's Baby?: www.safercar.gov/parents/heat-involved.htm

NWS ... "Beat the Heat, Check the Back Seat": www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: