Hot cars and children don't mix

June 24, 2014 12:00 AM

Every summer, tragic headlines flash across television screens and announce that yet another child has become the victim of a hot car. According to the National Safety Council, 43 children died in 2013 when they suffered from heatstroke inside of a car. As the weather starts to get warmer, there are steps you can take to help prevent this disaster and protect your children.

"Nobody ever thinks something like this could happen to them, until it does," advised Deborah Hersman, NSC president and CEO. "Unfortunately, every summer, dozens of children die as a result of high temperatures inside of cars. These unintended mistakes can devastate families, so make sure you always look before you lock your vehicle."

The basic rule for summer car safety is to never leave your child alone in a car, even if you are just running into a store or will only be gone for a few minutes. Cars heat up very quickly and can reach temperatures of over 100 degrees. The problem is that many tragedies do not happen on purpose. A break in routine or a forgetful moment can destroy the lives of even the best parents. Most of the time, children are left in the car by accident.

Set up reminders for yourself
The Courier Journal suggests purposefully leaving an item in the back of your car, such as a purse or cellphone, while driving. By doing this, parents are forced to look in the backseat and won't miss a sleeping baby. Another good habit to practice is to tie a reminder to your key ring, such as a baby keychain or your child's pacifier, as soon as you put him or her in the car. This will serve as another reminder that they are there.

In addition to not leaving your child in the car, it is important to ensure that he or she cannot get into the car by themselves. A child climbing into an unlocked car could accidentally lock themselves in, perhaps  while playing, and you wouldn't know where they were. To prevent this, always lock your car when you leave it, even in a garage or driveway. 

Cars also heat up while you are driving. Even if your HVAC system is not obviously broken, make sure to invest in car air conditioning service. This will help make the ride more comfortable for baby.

Now that you are more aware of your own actions while driving, keep a look out for those around you. If you ever come across a baby or child locked in a car, don't hesitate to call the police. They can unlock the car and get the child out of this dangerous situation.

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