Safe in 60: Strategies to prevent leaving children in hot cars

Jun 25, 2018, 7:00 AM | Updated: 4:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Every year, an average of 37 children die from vehicular heatstroke in the United States. Last year that number was even higher: 42.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children.

The most dangerous mistake you can make is to think forgetting a child inside a hot car won’t happen to you or someone you know. Even the best caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping child in a car. Consider that in 55 percent of child deaths from heatstroke, the parent or caregiver left the child in the vehicle unintentionally.

Here is why leaving a child or a pet in a car for even a few minutes is so dangerous:

  • Your car has a greenhouse effect and on a warm day, the temperature inside can reach over 120 degrees in minutes
  • Cracking the windows doesn’t help
  • Parking in the shade does very little to help

Here are 4 strategies to prevent a tragedy:

  1. Always lock your car at home so your child doesn’t crawl in it without you knowing
  2. Make it a routine to always look in the back seat before you leave the car
  3. Place something you always grab by habit in the back seat. Some ideas: your purse, cell phone, wallet or even your left shoe
  4. Leave your pets home during the summer while running errands to prevent having to leave them in the car

If you see a child or pet in a vehicle and in distress, call 911 immediately and follow the dispatcher’s instructions.

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Safe in 60: Strategies to prevent leaving children in hot cars