Heat Safety Awareness
Sharing these tips could help prevent vehicular heatstroke to children.
It’s unthinkable. Impossible. Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle is something that happens to other people. It’s the kind of thing you hear on the news, and never think it could happen to your family. And while children are at a higher risk in the hottest summer months, a vehicle can heat up quickly any time of the year.
"No one thinks a hot car tragedy can happen to them or their family and that is why these tragedies continue to happen," stated Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, the leading national nonprofit child safety organization working solely to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles.
Face the Facts
- An average of 37 children die from heatstroke in cars every year in the United States.
- The inside temperature of a car can raise 20°F every ten minutes, and can easily exceed 100°F in half an hour.
- Even on cloudy days, and even with car windows cracked, heat will still enter windows and heat up the cabin of a car.
- Extreme heat can raise the internal body heat of youngsters and lead to dehydration, dizziness and eventually death.
- The vast majority of child heatstroke fatalities occur when a parent or caretaker forgets that a child was in the car with them.
Look Before You Lock
Parents live in a hectic world – running errands, getting kids to school, birthday parties, soccer practice – so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you’ve ever forgotten to bring snacks to soccer practice, you know that things can slip a busy parent’s mind.
That’s why KidsAndCars.org urges parents to implement the "Look Before You Lock" safety checklist to keep their child safe from a hot car tragedy. Here are some of the helpful tips that you can share with your friends and family:
- Make it a routine to open the back door of your car every time you park to check that no one has been left behind.
- Put something in the back seat to remind you to open the back door every time you park - cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.
- Keep a stuffed animal in baby's car seat. Place it on the front seat as a reminder when baby is in the back seat.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway.
The good news is that this situation is 100% preventable with simple awareness. The first step is admitting that it’s possible, and the second is taking a few extra seconds a day to think about it. Making a habit of checking backseats is the simplest and surest way to prevent such a tragedy in your own family.
Tools of the Trade
There are certain accessories that can help reduce the amount of heat that a child would experience in a car. For example, things like sun shades on the windows could reduce temperatures in a car. Another option is a car seat sun shield, which is made of heat-resistant reflective material designed to reflect sunlight and keep the car seat cool when left in a car. While these accessories alone will not prevent heatstroke, they will lower the risk of excessive temperatures in your child’s car seat while you’re on the go.