Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kids Left in Cars

I have recently heard of two local cases of children being left unattended in vehicles. One child survived but the other was not as lucky. I want to give you some facts on hyperthermia.

Source: San Francisco State University

Average number of child hyperthermia fatalities per year since 1998: 37
Total child hyperthermia fatalities since 1998: 464
Of these deaths: 51% were "forgotten" in the car by a caregiver; 30% were children playing in unattended vehicles; 18% were intentionally left in the car by an adult and 1% were circumstances unknown.
Average elapsed time and temperature rise:
10 minutes makes the interior temperature increase by 19 degrees F
20 minutes makes the interior temperature increase by 29 degrees F
30 minutes makes the interior temperature increase by 34 degrees F
60 minutes makes the interior temperature increase by 43 degrees F
"Cracking" the windows had little effect on the interior car temperature.

Under no circumstances is it acceptable to leave a child, regardless of age, unattended in a vehicle. As we can see above, the temperature continues to climb, even if it is for "just a minute".

Some simple steps to keep kids safe:
  • Always leave your car doors and trunks locked. A child could get in the car and then be unable to get out.
  • Always store your car keys out of reach and out of sight of kids.
  • Teach children not to play in or around cars.
  • Never leave a child in a car alone.
  • Place something that you will need at your next stop – for example a purse, lunch, gym bag or briefcase – on the floor of the backseat where the child is sitting. This simple act could help prevent you from accidentally forgetting your child if he or she is sleeping.
  • Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off infants or children at day care. Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare that you will be called within a few minutes.

  • If you see an unattended child in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.

Please keep your kids in sight. Before leaving your vehicle, take a look in the back seat and be sure your child is not in there. This one simple step could save the life of a child. I realize we are all busy and trying to multi-task all the time, but just a few seconds to glance in the back seat is worth the effort.

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