Keeping Your Child Safe
As we start to look forward to the cooler temperatures of the fall, it's important to keep in mind the summer heat is still here for a little while longer. With the heat comes the danger of children being left in hot cars. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been 19 children who have died from heatstroke this year. In 2019, there were 52 hot car deaths and a record 53 deaths in 2018. The leading cause of hot car deaths at 54% is children forgotten in the car. The second leading cause at 25% is from children getting into unattended vehicles.
The temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees Fahrenheit. It only takes 10 minutes for a car’s interior temperature to increase by 20 degrees. A child’s major organs begin to shut down when their temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit and the child can die when their temperature reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Many safety groups are pushing for legislature requiring auto manufacturers to install audio and visual reminder warning systems in new vehicles reminding drivers to check the rear seat for children when the vehicle is shut off. Some auto makers already have such safety reminders in place on their vehicles.
Here are some safety reminders from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Always check the back seat and make sure all children are out of the car before locking it and walking away.
- Avoid distractions while driving, especially cell phone use.
- Be extra alert when there is a change in your routine, like when someone else is driving your child or you take a different route to work or child care.
- Have your child care provider call if your child is more than 10 minutes late.
- Put your cell phone, bag or purse in the back seat so you check the back seat when you arrive at your destination.
- If someone else is driving your child, always check to make sure they have arrived safely.
- Keep your car locked when it is parked to prevent a curious child from entering when no one is around. Many hot car deaths have occurred when a child mistakenly locks themselves inside.
- Make sure children do not have easy access to your car keys. Store them out of a child’s reach.
- Teach children cars are not safe places to play.
- Keep rear fold-down seats closed to prevent a child from crawling into the trunk from inside the car.
- Remind children cars, especially car trunks, should not be used for games like hide-and-seek.
Important tip: If a child is missing, always check the pool first and then the car, including the trunk.