Updated 7/23/18: 771 children have died due to pediatric vehicular heatstroke since 1998
Since I originally shared this post a few years ago an additional 170 children have died. Given the recent heat wave, it’s critical we all be extra vigilant. That said, data shows these incidents can even occur on days with mild (e.g. 70°F) temperatures, with vehicles reaching life-threatening temperatures very rapidly.
As much as you and I want to respond, “That could never happen to me!” The frightening reality is it could. In most cases it happens when a parent is sleep deprived (do you know many parents who aren’t) or under stress or have had a change in routine. And they simply, horribly, tragically forget.
What can we do about it? I’ve shared these tips before years ago, but in light of this summer’s extreme temperatures I want to share them again. Remember, children are dying in cars even when the temperatures are much cooler, e.g. in the 70’s. Never ever leave a child alone in a car for even a minute.
Child Safety Tips – Hot Cars
- Call 911 immediately if you see a child alone in a car. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible.
- Never EVER leave a child alone in a car – not even for a minute, not even if the windows are down.
- Put something in the back seat that you will need when you arrive at your destination, e.g. a cell phone, purse or briefcase… something to force you to see your child.
- If you’ve had a change of routine, set a reminder on your cell phone to be sure that you drop your child at daycare.
- Ask your childcare provider to call if your child ever does not arrive when expected.
- Keep a teddy bear or toy in the front passenger seat any time a child is riding in the back to remind yourself.
- When parked at home lock car doors and always keep keys out of reach of young children. Teach children not to play in or around cars.
- If a child is missing, check the car and trunk first.
Sure it sounds like a lot of extra work for a tired parent, but don’t you think those hundreds of parents who lost their kids in this horribly tragic way would give anything, do anything to go back and change it.
Please, it really can happen to anyone. Take the steps to be sure it’s not your sweet child we hear about next on the evening news.
Perhaps you’d never make this mistake, but tragically others clearly do. Please take just a moment to share this with other parents. Thank you!
So many tragedies like this happen each year. These tips are crucial, especially if you have a change of routine!
I need to work on keeping the doors locked when the car is in the garage now that mine can open the doors from the outside because we have child locks inside that keep them from getting out. Never thought about that!
I’m embarrassed to say I often don’t think to lock the car when it’s in the garage. That’s a great tip! Thank you.