Summer means fun in the sun. But, don't let the heat create a deathly situation.
This summer, numerous children have died after being left in a vehicle. The excuses for leaving a child in the car vary. "My child was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him up." Or, "I thought I’d only be gone a few minutes." Or, "I forgot my child was in the car." I’m sure you can come up with more about what you have heard! To sum it up, there is no excuse that will bring a dead child back.
The outside temperature does not even have to be that hot in order for a car to become an oven-like death trap. Even in mild temperatures, the interior of a car can become hot enough to lead to death during an extended period of time. Even if the child survives, being left in a hot car can cause lifelong consequences to their health and well being; this goes for pets and adults too!
The inside temperature of a vehicle can climb to dangerous levels very quickly, even if it doesn’t feel that hot outside. Consider this: In 90 degree weather, the temperature on the inside of a car can climb to about 110 degrees or more in less than 10 minutes, 120 degrees after 20 minutes, 135 degrees and climbing after an hour. Children are particularly vulnerable to the heat because their bodies heat up at a faster rate than adults.
In addition to not leaving your children in the car, the following are also important:
- When arriving home, get your kids out of the car first before getting your groceries or whatever else out of the car.
- Always lock your car and put the keys where your kids can't get them. Kids will often go to play in a car resulting in many dangers to their safety besides the heat.
- If your car doesn’t have one, install a trunk release mechanism so that anyone who may get inadvertently trapped in the trunk has a way out.
- Make sure that anyone caring for your child knows to never leave them in the car.
I have also heard of placing one of your child's toys on the front passenger seat as a reminder that your child is in the vehicle. Others suggest placing something like your purse or briefcase in the back on the floor in front of where your child is sitting, so that when you open the door to retrieve it you will see your child in the car. While I can't imagine forgetting a child was in the car, it does happen.
Some of you may think that this is all common sense and we don’t need reminders like this, but children are still dying, so it needs to be said. In most cases, it's not deliberate neglect, but small changes in routine that lead to tragedy.
If you see a child left alone in a hot car, don’t hesitate, call the police.
For more information, check out Maternity Corner.