Every summer we are saddened by stories in the news about children who are accidentally left in hot parked cars. According to KidsAndCars.org, on average, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/enforce/ChildrenAndCars/pages/Unattend-HotCars.htm reminds parents that it only takes ten minutes for the temperature in a car to go up 20 degrees and rolling down a window or parking in a shaded area, does little to keep the interior of the car cool.
As parents we are constantly dealing with busy schedules that include conducting errands using the car. Even the most diligent parent can say that when life is busy or there is a slight change in their regular schedule, it becomes increasingly easy to forget important details. One of those details may be leaving your child in a hot car. Infants, toddlers and young children who are unable to unlock themselves from their car seats and exit the car on their own are of increased danger. Luckily there are tips and tools that can help parents remember to look before they lock their car doors.
KidsAndCars.org has provided the following tips to help parents remember to check for children in the back seat before leaving their car and prevent children from getting into a hot car on their own.
- Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat.
- Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway
- Use drive-thru services when available. (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.)
- Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.
It is important to remember that this can happen to anyone. Be sure to follow these steps this summer with your own children. If you ever see another child locked in a hot car, take action and call 911 and get them out as soon as you can.
Let’s do what we can to keep your little ones safe.
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Angela Walsh is a Family Sleep Institute, Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and the founder of Babes in Sleepland. She helps sleep deprived babies, children and families, get back on track and get the sleep they need and desire. To learn more about Angela and how she can help you, visit her website: babesinsleepland.com. Also get sleep tips, the latest research on baby and child products, and be part of her weekly Q and A at her Facebook page: Babes in Sleepland.