Look Before You Leave! Check the Back Seat!
Look Before You Leave!
Leave a child in a car? Absolutely not! Most of us can’t even imagine that EVER happening. The truth is though it does, every year. Overheating can become a life threatening emergency for a child. Every year there are reports of tragic deaths of children who get left in cars for “just a second”, left in cars accidentally by distracted parents, or who get locked in a car accidentally while playing.
- There are an average of 38 deaths of children left or trapped in hot cars a year and the USA Today reported today that 9 children have dies already this summer with the latest tragedy being reported Monday in Florida.
- Most of these deaths, 52%, were due to children being forgotten in the car by a caregiver. Most of us think…“Never would I forget my child in the car!” When a child is accidentally left, most of the time it happens because a parent has changed a routine; the parent does not normally take to daycare and does that day, or the parent is stressed and overly tired. All of us have had our minds very occupied at one time or another…it only takes a few moments of “forgetting” to result in a tragedy.
- 30% of the deaths were due to children playing unattended in a car. How many of us have let our child “pretend” to drive the car? Children are curious and will get in a car to try it out or hide and then accidentally lock themselves in the car. Keep your car locked and the keys out of reach!
- Cars heat up quickly. When the outdoor temperature is in the 80’s, the temperature in a closed car can reach a deadly level in 10 minutes or less. A 70 degree day can result in a closed car with a temperature of 125 deadly degrees.
- Cracking a window has no significant effect on the car’s internal temperature.
“Source: Jan Null, CCM, Department of Geoscience, San Francisco State University, http://ggweather.com/heat/
What can we do?
- NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE!
- IF YOU SEE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE CALL 9-1-1. STAY WITH THE CHILD UNTIL EMERGENCY HELP ARRIVES.
- BE SURE THAT EVERYONE IS OUT OF THE CAR WHEN UNLOADING. DON’T FORGET SLEEPING CHILDREN!
- ALWAYS LOCK YOUR CAR AND BE SURE THAT CHILDREN DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR KEYS. TEACH YOUR CHILD THAT A CAR IS NOT A PLAY THING. NEVER LET YOUR CHILD PLAY IN THE CAR EVEN WITH SUPERVISION. IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK.
- KEEP A STUFFED ANIMAL IN THE CAR SEAT AND WHEN YOU PLACE YOUR CHILD IN THE SEAT PUT THE STUFFED ANIMAL IN THE FRONT WITH YOU AS A REMINDER, OR PLACE YOUR PURSE OR BRIEFCASE IN THE BACK SEAT AS A REMINDER THAT YOU HAVE YOUR CHILD IN THE CAR.
- MAKE “LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAVE” A ROUTINE WHENEVER YOU GET OUT OF THE CAR.
- MAKE A PLAN WITH YOUR CHILD CARE PROVIDER TO CALL YOU IF YOUR CHILD DOES NOT SHOW UP FOR SCHOOL. “Source: Jan Null, CCM, Department of Geoscience, San Francisco State University, http://ggweather.com/heat/
- NEVER LEAVE A CHILD ASLEEP IN THE CAR UNATTENDED, EVEN WITH THE WINDOW CRACKED OR THE AIR CONDITIONER ON.
Together, let’s keep our children safe! We each have a responsibility to protect ALL children.
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.