If the outside temperature is 101 degrees, then inside a car the temperature can reach a scorching 140 degrees. Exposure to this high temperature for any length of time can cause serious, irreversible brain injuries, multi-organ failure and even fatalities.
It may be hard to believe, but according to Safe Kids USA, almost 50 children died because they were left in a hot car last year. Unfortunately, our community is not immune. Each year our Children’s Emergency Department sees children who have been severely impacted by being left left in a hot car.
So NEVER leave a child alone in a car – even for a minute. And, make a promise to yourself that if you are a bus driver, van driver or the parent dropping his/her child off at camp or daycare, that you will do second-take before walking away from your car. Here are a few tips from Safe Kids USA to help protect children from an easily preventable disaster.
- Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.
- Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This triggers adults to see children when they open the rear door and reach for their belongings.
- Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you dropped your child off at day care.
- Set your computer calendar program, such as Outlook, to ask, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
- Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare that you will be called within a few minutes. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off little kids at day care.
Prevent trunk entrapment.
- Teach children not to play in any vehicle
- Lock all vehicle doors and trunk after everyone has exited the vehicle – especially at home. Keep keys out of children’s reach. Cars are not playgrounds or babysitters.
- Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child goes missing.
WakeMed Children’s is dedicated to providing answers to common questions parents have about children’s health and wellbeing. Learn more by subscribing to WakeMed’s Families First newsletter. Have a specific question you would like answered? Post a comment or email us directly.