We keep hearing about how hot cars can get but unfortunately, we also keep hearing about the many deaths of children after being left in hot cars. The organization Kids and Cars reminds us how often this occurs. Recently, Gio Benitez and Kids and Cars President and Founder Janette Fennell helped with a segment on Good Morning America to show us just how how a car can get – and how fast.
NHTSA reports that when it is 60 degrees outside, the inside of a car can quickly rise to over 110 degrees. When it is 83 degrees outside, even with the windows cracked 2 inches, the inside of the car can reach 109 degrees in only 15 minutes.
You can watch the video of just how hot your car can get here. Last year, there were a reported 31 child heatstroke deaths from hot cars. In Florida alone, 9 kids have already died in hot cars. “Look before you lock” is a recent campaign aimed at reminding drivers to look around the inside of their car before locking the doors and walking away. As parents, it is certainly easy to get distracted, think you have already dropped off your child at school or daycare, and continue with your day.
Musician Carrie Underwood recently found herself in a scary situation when her dog locked the car doors with her son inside. She reacted swiftly, didn’t wait for help, and broke the window to rescue her animals and son.
We have also recently heard of multiple incidents involving children being inadvertently left on hot school buses or daycare buses. Perhaps a push for legislation and/or policy changes required school bus drivers to walk through the bus to check for children after drop off would be wise.
Please help spread the word. Don’t leave children or animals in the car, even for a minute. Develop systems to ensure no children are left behind in your vehicles. Push for your school district to perform walk-throughs of the school buses at the end of the day.
NHTSA recommends the following:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.
- In addition, NHTSA urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number.
- A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.