courtesy of Discount Tire

The summer months are here! Everyone looks forward to warmer temperatures and sunshine. But, during this enjoyable time of year, there is a serious threat that must be diligently prevented. This is children and pets being left in hot cars. A child or pet left in a hot car can die of heat stroke very quickly. This is a tragedy that can be prevented.

Here are some facts everyone needs to know:

  • Outside of car accidents, heat stroke (when the body is unable to cool itself fast enough) is the leading cause of vehicle-related deaths in children under 15.
  • A child’s body heats up three-to-five times faster than an adult’s does. A child’s major organs begin to shut down when their temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A child can die when their temperature reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cars heat up quickly! It only takes 10 minutes for a car’s temperature to rise 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Having a window cracked does practically nothing to cool the car down once the engine is turned off.
  • It can be as low as 57 degrees Fahrenheit outside and heat stroke can still occur.

It is important to remember that this kind of accident can happen to ANYONE. No matter how loving or attentive we normally are, we all have the capacity to forget a child or pet in the back seat. This oversight happens especially when we are busy or distracted. Even something as simple as a change in routine can affect our memory.

  • Here are some tips to prevent this tragedy:
  • Make it a habit to check the back seat and be sure all children and/or pets are out of the vehicle before locking and leaving.
  • We all know the dangers of distracted driving. These are the same distractions that can cause a child or pet to be left behind. Avoid unnecessary distractions, including using your cell phone.
  • Use extra caution when your routine has been altered, whether you are running late, someone else is driving, or you take a different route to work. Make it a point to be even more alert and aware.
  • Take the added precaution of having your child care provider or your child’s school call you if your child is more than 10 minutes late.
  • Use a physical reminder by placing something you need in the backseat near your child or pet, such as your cell phone, purse, wallet, or brief case. This will remind you to check the back before exiting your car.
  • In the event someone else is driving your child, don’t hesitate to call and confirm that your child arrived at the destination safely and on time.
  • Never leave your unattended car unlocked. Children could enter it for fun and get locked in.
  • Teach your children that cars are not a safe place to play inside or around.
  • In the event you notice your child missing, always check cars (including trunks) and nearby water sources first.
  • Remain diligent of your own and other people’s children and/or pets. If you see a child or pet locked inside a car, call authorities immediately.