HOT CARS AND KIDS: FIVE SAFETY TIPS TO PREVENT A TRAGEDY
In 2017, forty-two (42) children died after being left in a hot vehicle. Unfortunately, while one death is too many, this number of deaths is up from the annual average of 37. Sadly, ten (10) minutes is how long it takes in a closed vehicle for the temperature to rise twenty (20) degrees. And a twenty degree increase in an interior car’s temperature, especially for children, is enough to result in death.
To avoid these preventable deaths, some newer cars are now equipped with a “rear seat reminder” if a rear car door is opened and closed before the vehicle is started or while the vehicle is running. In such a situation, when the car is turned off, alarm chimes will sound and a message will be displayed on the instrument panel reminding the driver to check the rear seat. Additionally, some newer car seats are equipped with a computer chip placed in the child restraint straps, which transmits a signal to the driver, within seconds of the vehicle’s ignition being turned off.
If your vehicle or car seat is not equipped with such safety features, below are five safety tips to prevent a tragedy.
- Never leave a child alone in a car. Even if the windows are cracked, the temperature can simply rise too high and too quickly to avoid injury.
- Keep your car locked when you are not in it, in order to prevent a child from trying to play in the vehicle and inadvertently lock themselves in.
- Create your own reminders, by putting a briefcase, purse, cell phone, laptop or lunch in the back seat with your child. In this way you will remember to check the back seat when you arrive at your destination.
- Keep a stuffed animal or other toy in your child’s car seat when it is empty and move the toy to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the rear car seat.
- If you regularly drop off a child at child car, create a calendar reminder on your phone or computer each day to make sure it is done. In the alternative, make arrangements for your child care provider to contact you right away if your child does not get dropped off at the expected time.
For additional resources and information on how to avoid these preventable tragedies, click here, for a copy of the National Safety Council’s “Kids in Hot Cars Report”
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