Unfortunately each year, there are reports of vehicular heatstroke deaths. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.
As summer heats up, Jessica Choi, CPST, Child Passenger Safety Instructor/ Community Outreach Coordinator at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, shares easy steps everyone can take to prevent vehicle heat-related injury or death.
- Make it a habit to always look before you lock. Open that back door to double check that your kids aren’t with you even if you’re sure you’ve already dropped them off.Many parents think they couldn’t ever forget their children, but everyone can—it’s because human brains have an “autopilot” mode that helps us get through the day. Place a reminder in the backseat, like your phone, purse, or wallet. One writer proposed that a driver place their left shoe in the backseat—you can’t get out of your car without it! Remind everyone who transports your child to look before they lock—grandparents, friends, daycare providers and school bus drivers.
- Always lock your vehicle so kids can’t gain access. If a child is ever missing, check any bodies of water first, (bathtub, pools, ponds, etc.), and then check vehicles, including trunks. Children can become trapped in a vehicle and quickly be overwhelmed by heat.
- Never leave your kids unattended in a car, even for a minute. The inside of a vehicle heats up very quickly, even if the windows are down. Kids have died even on mild days when outside temperatures are in the 50s and 60s. In as little as five-10 minutes, kids can become overheated.
Heatstroke deaths occur most frequently in June, July and August but have been recorded every month of the year in nearly all 50 states. These types of tragedies can happen to anyone, anywhere. Prevention will keep your little one safe.