Sweltering is definitely the word of the moment, as we find ourselves in the midst of one of the hottest summers in recent memory. Because of these temperatures, it’s more important than ever that we are mindful of the dangers of leaving our children unattended in a vehicle.
It’s easy to say that we could never forget that our child is in the backseat, but it happens. In the hullabaloo that is everyday life and extra stressors that only add to the confusion, it happens. Over the course of five short days – Aug. 2 to 6, 2012 – seven children died of heat stroke after being left in a vehicle, KidsAndCars.org reports. Families in Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, and New Mexico are tragically changed forever because children were either left in the car or in one case a 3-year-old climbed into a vehicle and was unable to get back out.
Heartbreakingly these are not the first cases of the 2012 summer, but this is tragedy that is 100% preventable, so let’s talk prevention. In a July 13 press release from KidsAndCars.org, they announced their new safety program, Look Before You Lock.
The primary goal of this program is to distribute safety cards through hospitals nationwide to educate new parents about how memory lapses can result in children suffering heat stroke and even death in hot cars. The ―Look Before You Lock program is the first of its kind to provide life-saving information at the very beginning of their baby’s life about the dangers of inadvertently leaving children alone in a vehicle.
Safety Tips included on the card are “BE SAFE:”
Back seat – Put something in the back seat of your vehicle that requires you to open the back door every time you park – cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.
Every child should be correctly restrained in the back seat.
Stuffed animal – Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. Place it on the front passenger seat as a reminder when your baby is in the back seat.
Ask your babysitter or child care provider to call you if your child hasn’t arrived on time.
Focus on driving – Avoid cell phone calls and texting while driving.
Every time you park make it a routine to open the back door of your car to check that no one has been left behind.
Food for thought: A child’s body heats three to five times faster than an adult’s. And in ten minutes time a car’s temperature can increase by 19 degrees and will continue to rise, (Safe Kids, Facts About Hyperthermia).
Even if you’re leaving your child in the car just to “run a quick errand – I’ll be in and out,” as we know, life happens, do you really want to take the chance?