One child dies every 10 days in this country due to vehicular heat stroke (hyperthermia.)
Parents need factual information about ways to protect their children this summer. Already, six children have perished due to heat stroke this year; with two in the last two days. An inquisitive toddler died after entering his mother’s vehicle in Rhode Island and a 4-month-old infant perished in California after his father unknowingly forgot to drop him at daycare.
KidsAndCars.org recommendations to keep children safe include:
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute
- Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID, lunch or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat. Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit. We call this the “Look before you lock campaign”
- Keep a large teddy bear in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the teddy bear in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that anytime the teddy bear is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.
- Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call them if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled. This is common courtesy and sets a good example that everyone who is involved in the care of your child is informed of their whereabouts on a daily basis. Ask them to phone you if your child doesn’t show up when expected. Many children’s lives could have been saved with a telephone call from a concerned child care provider. Give child care providers all your telephone numbers, including that of an extra family member or friend, so they can always confirm the whereabouts of your child.
- Use drive-thru services when available. (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.)
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.
- Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
- Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.
- Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
- When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.
- Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.
For additional information regarding the significant dangers children face in and around motor vehicles, visit www.KidsAndCars.org.