While a parent might think, “It will never happen to my child,” sadly about 45 kids die every year from being left in hot cars. The majority of these cases are due to a parent forgetting the child is in the car or the child playing in the car unbeknownst to the caregiver. As the summer months are upon us, it’s even more important to remember to never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a moment.The General Motors Foundation, a longtime partner of Safe Kids, http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-guide/kids-in-and-around-cars/never-leave-your-child-alone.html has teamed up for the Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car program.
Through the Safe Kids USA network of 600 coalitions and chapters, the “Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car” program will unite and mobilize police and fire, hospitals, government agencies, child care centers, businesses and others to share with parents and other caregivers prevention messages to address the dangers to children in vehicles.
The program will include an advertising campaign of billboards, print ads, web banners and radio announcements as well as tip sheets. The materials will be available in both English and Spanish.
Here’s what parents and caregivers need to know and why:
- Lock cars and trucks. Thirty percent of the recorded heat stroke deaths in the U.S. occur because a child was playing in an unattended vehicle. These deaths can be prevented by simply locking the vehicle doors to help assure that kids don’t enter the vehicles and become trapped.
- Create reminders. Many child heat stroke deaths occur because parents and caregivers become distracted and exit their vehicle without their child. To help prevent these tragedies parents can:
- Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or something that is needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This will help you see your child when you open the rear door and reach for your belongings.
- Set the alarm on your cell phone/smartphone as a reminder to you to drop your child off at day care.
- Set your computer calendar program to ask, “Did you drop off at daycare today?” Establish a plan with your daycare that if your child fails to arrive within an agreed upon time that you will be called within a few minutes. Be especially mindful of your child if you change your routine for daycare.
- Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble. The body temperature of children rises 3 – 5 times faster than adults, and as a result, children are much more vulnerable to heat stroke. Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child is missing.