Summer Heat Can Kill Kids Left in Cars
Posted Jun 05, 2008.
Each summer we hear tragic reports of children dying from overheated temperatures after being left in a vehicle unattended. It is critical for parents of young children not to underestimate the dangers involved.
In a poll conducted by the National Safe Kids Campaign and General Motors, one in five young parents still believe it is acceptable to leave kids alone in or around a motor vehicle. Between 1998-2007 365 deaths were reported as a result of a child being left or trapped in a vehicle. Approximately 36 deaths occur each year due to heat related incidents - most of them involve children three years and under.
Parked Car Facts
Some important facts for parents include:
- On a sunny day, temperatures of only 60 degrees Fahrenheit can become a dangerous oven within minutes inside a parked vehicle with closed windows. Dark colored seats also attract and increase heat conditions.
- Young children’s core body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. Because heat affects children more quickly and severely than adults, children are especially vulnerable to brain damage and death.
- Air temperature in the nineties can heat up within 20 minutes to dangerous levels of 125 degrees in a closed vehicle. Within 40 minutes, that same temperature can rise to 140 degrees.
- Young children can climb inside a parked vehicle and become trapped, unable to get out.
Some Simple Steps To Protect Young Children
- Lock your vehicles at all times, doors and trunk, even in the driveway or garage. Young children can climb inside and become trapped, unable to get out.
- Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows down.
- Teach children not to play in or around cars. Keep car keys out of reach and out of sight of children.
- If your vehicle has child-resistant locks, teach older children how to unlock the doors.
- Plan to take children with you while running errands or make needed arrangements for them to be left in a caring environment with a competent person.
- When making plans with parents, consider and discuss arrangements that may be needed for all children involved.
- Consider contacting your car dealership to get your car fitted with a trunk release mechanism.
- Folding windshield shades can keep the interior of a car from getting hot, but it does not make it safe for a child to be left inside.
- Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition. If you find a child in a parked car, call 911, and get air to the child, even if a window needs to be broken.
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