The statistic is enough to break one’s heart: On average, 38 children die in hot cars every year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.
As the weather heats up this summer, it’s important to remember the following safety tips so, hopefully, no child ever has to die a horrible, painful, agonizing death after being left alone in a car. These tips are provided by a website called Kids and Cars.
- Never leave a child alone in or around cars, not even for a minute. That is good advice in any weather or under any conditions.
- Put something you will need, such as your cell phone, handbag, employee I.D. badge or briefcase, on the floor board of the back seat. That way, you will remember to look in the back when exiting your car, seeing a belted-in child that might otherwise be forgotten in a hurried rush.
- Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to be sure no child is left behind. Do that until it becomes an ingrained habit, one dubbed “Look Before Lock.”
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is secured in the seat, transfer the stuffed animal to the front so it will be a front-seat reminder there’s the child in the back.
- Make an agreement with the babysitter or daycare operator that you will always call if the child won’t be coming on a given day. Also, have the child-care person call you if the child does not show up. This is very important because so many children have died when their parents left them in the car, forgetting to drop them off at daycare.
- If a child is missing, the first thing to check is inside a car and in trunks. Always lock car doors to prevent children from getting into the car and then not being able to get out.
- Never leave children in cars to go into a store. Cars can heat up extremely fast, quickly enough to cause heat stroke to a young child, toddler or baby.
Many of those safety tips can also be applied to pets. Pets should never, ever be left in vehicles for any length of time, even if the windows are rolled partially down. On summer days, it’s best to leave pets at home, period.
For more tips about children and vehicles, visit the Kids and Cars website at www.KidsAndCars.org, then share all you’ve learned with family, friends and neighbors.
If we all pay close attention to the safety tips, we can greatly diminish the horrific possibility of any child having to die in misery in a closed vehicle.