During the coming months, summer temperatures are expected to soar. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration likes to annually remind care-givers of small children to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. They report that on a 60 degree day temperatures inside a locked car can get well above 100 degrees very quickly. On hotter days that get up into the 80s and 90s outside, temperatures in a car can be a dangerous 130 to 160 degrees within minutes. These conditions are obviously incredibly dangerous to young children who can potentially die when their bodies temperatures exceed 107 degrees. Heatstroke does not always lead to death but can also cause various other health problems such as permanent brain damage, deafness and the loss of sight.
Heatstroke injuries and fatalities are 100 percent preventable. The most important bit of advice is to never leave a child in a car without supervision. Even if you have your air cranked up and/or windows rolled down and “you’ll only be gone a second” it is not worth the risk, bring your child with you or leave them at home with another parent or sitter where they will be safer.
If you’re dropping your child off at daycare prior to work and may find yourself in a hurry, leave yourself a reminder such as a stuffed animal in your passenger seat or your purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure your child gets where they need to be.
Not all vehicle-related heatstroke accidents happen from forgetful parents, sometimes curious kids will find their way into dangerous situations all on their own. Before locking your car, check all the seats and your trunk for stow-aways. Once you’re sure the car is clear, secure all locks and your store your keys in a safe place out-of-reach. Teach your children that the vehicle is not a play area.
The NHTSA launched the “Look Before You Lock” educational campaign three years ago to provide simple tips that can not only save lives but help families prevent unnecessary heartache. Share these tips with friends and family members and remember that if you see an unattended child in a locked car, you have every right to contact authorities for that child’s safety. Do not hesitate to call 911, you could potentially save a life.