Never Leave a Child in a Vehicle Unattended
Posted at 11:55 a.m.
Heatstroke is the number two killer of children behind car crashes. That’s why we’ve joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to attempt to reduce these deaths by reminding you — especially parents and caregivers — about the dangers of heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars.
As outside temperatures rise, the risks of children dying from being left alone inside a hot vehicle also rises. According to safercar.gov, one child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days from being left in a hot vehicle. In 2014 there were at least 30 heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles. What is most tragic is that the majority of these deaths could have been prevented.
Please remember these three things:
- Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
- Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time you exit the car.
- Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.
If you are a bystander and see a child unattended in a vehicle:
- Always make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 9-1-1 immediately.
- If the child appears ok, you should attempt to locate the parents; or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the public address system.
- If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while someone waits at the car.
- If the child is not responsive and appears in great distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child, even if that means breaking a window.
Children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.
Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include:
- Red, hot and moist or dry skin.
- No sweating.
- A strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse.
- Confusion or acting strangely.
If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose — never an ice bath. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
According to safercar.gov, 59 percent of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car; 29 percent are from a child getting into a hot car on their own. Remember to “look before you lock.”