Kids that are left too long in hot cars can have deadly results and these deaths are preventable. Here are some helpful tips to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
• Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning on. A child’s body temperature can heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and 107 degrees is lethal.
• Heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can become deadly in just 10 minutes. Rolling down a window does not keep a car cool.
Heatstroke deaths happen even in vehicles parked in the shade when the air temperatures were 80 degrees or less.
• If dropping a child off is not part of your normal routine, then come up with a way to remind yourself that the child is in the car. Put your purse or even a shoe in the back seat next to the child. That way you are going into the back seat where the child is before leaving the vehicle. Or maybe write a note and place it on the dashboard of the car or set a reminder on your cell phone or calendar.
• Always lock your vehicle doors and trunk and keep the keys out of a child’s reach. If a child is missing, quickly check all vehicles, including the trunk. Teach kids that a vehicle is not a play area.
• The same rules apply for your pets. Never leave your pet in a parked car. Heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads. If you see a dog in a car and in distress, take down the car’s color, model, make and license-plate number and have the owner paged if you believe they are in a nearby store or business or you can contact the police.
Remember for kids and pets – look before you lock!
Cinda Seamon – Fire & Life Safety Educator, Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue