Monday, August 15, 2011

6 Safety Tips: Kids DO Die In Hot Cars

With us being in the full swing of August, and most of the country having record high temperatures this year, I have been slightly nagged to do a blog post on infant deaths in hot cars. The statistics are staggering, and they are not all cases of neglected kids left for hours in a car while mom is out having a good time. Most involve normal kids from normal families, and could have been prevented with just a few simple safety measures.

Here are the statistics on this tragic occurrence:

Number of US deaths in 2011 thus far - 22
Number of US deaths in 210 - 49
Number of US deaths from 1998 to present - 516
Average number of US child hyperthermia deaths per year since 1998 - 38

Wow! I can't tell you how many times I was tempted, when my kids were younger, to just let them sleep in the car.  You know how it is: you get home from running errands and they have finally fallen asleep in the back seat. You know darn well if you try to take them into the house it will wake them up and then you will be lucky if you can get them back to sleep. Why not just let them sleep in the car for a while? I never did and I am glad.
Most kids who die from car heat are in one of two categories: the aforementioned sleeping child left in the car and children who climb into cars to play and unknowingly lock themselves in and can't get back out. In 2010 two-year old twins had gone missing for several hours. They were finally found in their grandmother's car. The two had apparently crawled in to play and locked themselves in and couldn't get back out. When investigators arrived the temperature in the car had surpassed 140 degrees.

Most children who suffer this fate are too young to be able to get themselves out of the car when it starts getting too hot. They are either physically unable to get out or don't yet understand how to unlock the doors. 31% are less than a year old; 23% are in the year old range; 21% are two years old and 13% are three years old.

Follow these simple safety measures and you can prevent this tragedy from happening in your family.

1. NEVER leave your kids in the car for any reason. If they are sleeping, take them into the house. If you are just running into the store super quick, take them with you. A little inconvenience on the front end will be worth the safety of your child in the end.

2. If you have small children, always leave your vehicles locked. If they are locked then little ones will not be able to crawl into the car and unknowingly lock themselves inside.

3. Teach your kids that a car is not a place to play. Many of the deaths have been kids crawling into trunks and getting locked in. Educate them that this is not a safe place to play.

4. If you happen to see a child in a car by themselves in a parking lot, call 911 immediately. Don't take the chance on the parent coming back right away.

5. Believe it or not, sometimes this happens when a parent forgets their child is in the car. I can sit here and say "How on earth can you forget that you have a child in the car!?", however, I did leave my child at Fred Meyer once, if you remember. A good habit to get into is placing something by the child that you will need, ie: a purse, briefcase, wallet - just something that you will have to grab when you get to your destination so you will have to reach back to get it and see your child in the car.

6. Get in the habit of always checking the back seat before you get out of the car. Remember, sleeping children are quiet children. It's easy to forget they are in the car when you haven't heard them for a while, especially if you are doing something that is off routine.

Have a great, and safe, summer!


No comments:

Post a Comment