Children are especially vulnerable in the warm summer months because their body temperatures increase three to five times faster than adults'. In fact, KidsAndCars.org states that nationwide over 1,000 children have died in hot cars since 1990. An average of 39 kids die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Help keep your kids safe in and around hot cars with these tips.
- Never leave a child unattended in a car, no matter how briefly. The interior temperature can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes of shutting the vehicle off.
- Don't be fooled by mild temperatures. Even when it's 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, a car's interior can reach 110 degrees.
- Always check your back seats before locking your car. Put your cell phone or wallet in the back seat to help you remember to check.
- Keep vehicles locked so children can't accidentally crawl in. Keyless entry and ignition systems make this a greater risk, so it's important to keep key fobs in a safe place.
- Avoid going into buildings or businesses. If carrying child passengers, use drive-through services when available, such as at the bank, fast-food restaurants or the dry cleaner.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has information on what to do if you see a child alone in a vehicle. Don’t wait for the driver to return — call 911 immediately. In hot weather, it may be legal in your state to break the glass to rescue a child.
And don't forget — pets can be just as vulnerable to the heat. Be sure to take similar precautions when traveling with pets.