Here's why, on average, 37 children die each year due to heat stroke from being left in unattended vehicles. A child's body heats up 3-5 times faster than an adult's body, and their temperature only needs to get as high as 107 before death occurs. Also, even if the temperature is mild outside, (maybe in the low 60s), inside a vehicle the temperature can reach 110 degrees! Even when rolling the windows down, the temperature can still rise to an unhealthy degree.
You may think that none of this applies to you. You are a loving parent who deeply cares about your child, and would never think to leave him/her in a hot, stuffy car. Unfortunately, over 55% of cases where a child has died, due to being left in a vehicle, in which the person responsible did so unknowingly!
You might think how in the world could anyone unknowingly leave their child in a car? When you are on the top of your game, you definitely wouldn't. However, many accidents like this occur, when a person is under a great amount of stress, tired, or straying from their normal routine, especially if the child in quiet or asleep.
Rather than focus on the negative, we want to focus on the positive and what you can do to prevent this type of tragic accident from happening.
- Look Before You Lock. It will never hurt to always check the backseat of your vehicle before locking it.
- Create a Reminder. You could keep a stuffed animal in your child's car seat when they are not in the vehicle. When your child rides in his/her car seat, move the stuffed animal to the front seat, so you will see it when you get out of the car. Or, you could put your phone, purse/briefcase, work ID, etc in the back seat, so you are sure to grab it, and check the backseat before walking away from your vehicle.
- Routine Check. If you have someone else taking your child somewhere, or driving them to daycare, etc. call them and check on your child.
- Keep Your Vehicle Locked, and Your Keys in a Secure Place. Sometimes a child isn't left in the car, sometimes they climb in themselves and then can't get out. Keeping your vehicle locked and keys in a secure places, will help eliminating a child from being in the car without your knowledge.
These few extra checks will take moments to perform, but the habit could save any of us from tragic accidents that we all want to avoid.