Experts warn leaving kids in a hot car can have deadly consequences
Childcare experts want to remind you to be especially careful not to leave children or pets in hot, parked cars, even for a few minutes.
AAA says according to San Francisco State University, the inside temperature of a car can rise 19 degrees in just ten minutes. On a typical Summer day in South Dakota AAA says the inside temperature of a car can climb above 100 degrees very quickly. AAA says heatstroke can happen in an adult when the temperature reaches 104 degrees and death can occur at 107 degrees. For a child, it's even less.
Safe Kids USA says that a child can die from heat stroke on a 72-degree day. They say this can happen simply because their bodies aren't the same as adults. They say a child's body can heat up five times faster than an adult's.
That's why experts say it's so important not to leave your pets or kids in a parked car. AAA says cracking a window or parking in the shade is not going to be enough to keep that car at a safe temperature. Experts also say when it comes to pets you might want to think about how many stops you need to make when you will be out and about and if it might be safer just to leave your pet at home.
AAA also says your child could be caught in a very dangerous situation by being accidentally trapped in a hot car. They say a car can be an inviting place for a child to play so it's very important that you keep your cars locked.
Here's what AAA says to keep in mind this summer. First of all they say never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, and even if the windows are tinted or down. The same applies to pets and the elderly. Secondly they say never leave car keys where kids can see them and grab them. Next they say when you aren't in your car keep doors locked and windows closed at all times, even when the car is in a garage or on a driveway. Next AAA says when you first place a child in a car seat in the back seat of the car, also open the glove compartment door, flip down the passenger side visor or put a purse in the back seat. AAA says any of these actions will help give you a visual reminder that a child is in the back seat. Next make sure all children leave the car when you get to where you were heading. Be absolutely sure no one is accidentally left behind. Finally they say if you see a child alone in a locked, hot parked car, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
Safe Kids USA says on an 80-degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly reach 100 degrees in the time it takes to run into the store for an errand. Heat stroke happens when the body cannot cool itself fast enough and the core temperature rises to dangerous levels. The group also says since 1998 more than 500 children across the U.S. have died from hyperthermia, when unattended in a vehicle. The group also says more than half of these reported heat stroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot their child was in the car or truck.
Safe Kids USA recommends using "ACT," to remind yourself about car safety when it comes to kids.
Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by:
Never leaving your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
Consistently locking unattended vehicle doors and trunks.
Create reminders and habits that give you and your child's caregiver a safety net:
Establish a peace-of-mind plan. When you drop off your child, make a habit of calling or texting all other caregivers, so all of you know where your child is at all times.
Place a purse, briefcase, gym bag, cell phone or an item that is needed at your next stop in a back seat.
Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle:
Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide - they are trained to determine if a child is in danger.