As we reach the mid-point in summer and temperatures are rising, we’d like to remind everyone about the dangers of hot cars and share some tips to prevent child deaths in hot cars. Unfortunately, with the added stress of COVID this year, hot car deaths are on the rise. At the time this article was written, there were 11 deaths across the US. Keep these tips in mind to avoid a tragedy in your family.
Remember That Every Minute Counts
With limited summer programs and a lack of baby sitters, parents must take their children out with them more often than usual and to more places than usual. Anyone who is a parent knows this isn’t easy. You may be tempted to leave your child in a car while you quickly run an errand. Unfortunately, even just a few minutes in a car is dangerous. Rolling the windows down does not change how quickly a car heats up in summer weather. Neither does parking in the shade. Do not take the chance! Every minute counts,.. literally! Although it might be more difficult and time consuming, always take your children out of the car and with you when running errands.
COVID restrictions and business closures have changed the daily and weekly routines for many families. Add to that the stress created by COVID uncertainty and you have two factors that greatly increase the likelihood of forgetting your child in a car! It’s an honest mistake that many parents make each year.
Since kids often fall asleep during car rides, there’s no audible reminder that your child is with you. It’s helpful to set other triggers/reminders. For example, place the diaper bag in the front seat with you instead of in the backseat with your baby.
Lock Your Vehicle
Another source of hot car deaths are unlocked cars. In fact, of the 11 hot car deaths so far this year, almost half were children who got into a vehicle on their own. Children love playing in cars. They will climb into an unlocked car or even grab keys from tabletops to access a vehicle on their own. Unfortunately, they’re not necessarily old enough to understand the dangers of a hot car or to get out on their own. For their protection, be sure to lock your cars and store keys out of reach.
Summary of Ways to Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars
There is no single cause to hot car deaths. Sometimes parents attempt to run a quick errand but get delayed, other times parents simply forget that their child is in the back seat. Children sometimes even climb into cars on their own to play. By being aware of the dangers, parents can prevent child deaths in hot cars. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the danger extends beyond infants. Toddlers are equally at risk, especially for climbing in on their own. Parents of all ages must be vigilant about car safety, especially during these hot summer months.