The warm summer months are a time for children and families to get outside and enjoy a variety of fun activities. When temperatures soar into the 80s, 90s and beyond, parents and caregivers should be mindful about the serious danger of heat stroke – particularly for children. There have been many heartbreaking and preventable deaths in the U.S. due to children being left alone in hot cars. Whether a driver forgets the child is left unattended in the car or a child accidentally locks him/herself in a car without any adult knowing it happened, the child is in danger within minutes.
KVC is committed to the safety of each child we serve. Here is what you can do to keep children safe this summer:
- NEVER leave kids alone in a hot car, even briefly. No exceptions.
- Make it a habit to always check the front and back seats of the car before you lock it and leave.
- If you see a kid alone in a hot car, call 911 immediately. Get them out ASAP if they are in distress.
- Put your purse, briefcase, or something else you need by the car seat so you don’t forget to check.
- Always lock your car when it’s empty so kids can’t get in without you knowing.
- Make arrangements with your child’s daycare center or babysitter to call if your child is not there on a scheduled day.
- When a child is missing, check vehicles immediately.
- Educate other parents about this danger, and share these tips frequently.
(Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, WebMD)
An article by WebMD offers more detail on why hot cars are dangerous for children:
“It is never OK to leave kids or pets in a car – even with the windows down,” says Christopher McStay, MD, an emergency room doctor and assistant professor at New York University Langone Medical Center. “It is an absolute no-no. Your car is a greenhouse and temperatures can get exceedingly hot in an exceedingly short period of time,” he says.
“There is no safe amount of time to leave children alone in the car,” says Nathan Allen, MD, an emergency doctor at the University of Chicago. “Kids are more susceptible and at higher risk for heat-related illness and injury than adults because their bodies make more heat relative to their size and their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as adults.”
As a result, just a few minutes can be extremely dangerous – even fatal – for a small child.
There are many resources available to learn more about how to keep kids safe this summer. Visit SaferCar.gov, an initiative of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSN), to learn more. You can also call KVC with any questions, concerns or ideas at 1-888-655-5500. We are available 24 hours a day to support you.
Thank you for partnering with us to provide a safe summer for children!