39 kids die each year from being left in a hot car.
Sometimes babies sleep so peacefully that busy parents can forget they are even in the car. Other times, you might be tempted to leave kids in the car while you run a quick errand, but young children are at a higher risk of heatstroke because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults. That is why they should never be left alone.
Jill Drakeford from Carilion Children’s recommends setting up little reminders for yourself so you never forget about your child. This can be putting your purse or your wallet in the back seat with your child. You can also leave your cell phone in the back. This way you are also not tempted to text and drive.
Lastly, she recommends leaving a stuffed animal in the back seat where the car seat goes. Then, when you place your child in the car, you move the stuffed animal to the passenger seas as a reminder.
“It only takes about ten minutes for the interior of your vehicle to get about twenty degrees hotter than what it is outside. And so that is not very much time. So we really want to make sure we are doing everything that we can to make sure we are reminding ourselves that our children are in the back seat,” says Drakeford.
She also recommends that if you drop your child off at daycare to have the daycare center call you by a certain time if your child has not arrived.
As a pedestrian, if you ever see a child or a pet locked in a hot car, you should help immediately. According to Roanoke County Fire and Rescue, the first thing you should do is call 9-1-1.
“You need to get them help. If there is a child locked in a vehicle you need to do what you feel you need to do, certainly call 911 and start working on trying to get that child or that pet out of that vehicle,” says Brian Clingenpeel, the community outreach coordinator for Roanoke County Fire and Rescue.
You never know how long that child or pet has been inside that car, so it is important to help right away.
According to Safe Kids Southwest Virginia, there is a law in the Commonwealth that if you are in good faith doing what you need to do to get that child out of a car, you will never be prosecuted.
For more information and how you can help prevent vehicular heatstroke, click here.