On one of the hottest days of the year so far, the Department of Transportation reminds us that hyperthermia caused by kids being left unsupervised in cars kills at least 27 children every year. That makes it the number one non-crash vehicle-related cause of death for of our nation’s kids, according to a San Francisco State University fact sheet. Nine children have already died in 2010.
Remember, when the temperature outside is 86 degrees, the temperature inside a car can quickly reach 135 or even 150 degrees, the DOT reports And research indicates that leaving the windows open a crack does little to reduce this oven effect. read the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning feature article, “Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Back Seat of a Car is a Horrifying Mistake,” by The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten. Don’t leave the kids alone in the car even for a minute whether you are at home or on vacation, even with windows partly open and especially not with the motor on and airconditioning running, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Suggests.
They also say: .
- Teach the kids that a vehicle is not a play area. Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children’s reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
- If you are bringing your child to daycare or someplace your spouse or partner normally takes them, have them call you to make sure everything went according to plan. Children have died because a parent forgot they were still in the car.
- Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as: Writing yourself a note and putting the note where you will see it when you leave the vehicle; placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle; or keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she is leaving the vehicle.
- If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Warning signs may include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea or acting strangely. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
For further safety information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/KeepingKidsSafe