I would like to write about leaving children in cars. This happens sometimes by accident, and there is nothing more horrifying than the thought of causing the death of your own child, but it happens. We must not blame the parents who are unfortunate enough to experience this horror.
Instead, we must educate, remind, speak out. There are enough terrible things going on in this world without us doing them to each other (I always tells my kids when they fight or are mean), so let’s just do something about it. San Fransisco State University has a Fact Sheet about heatstroke deaths of children in cars that would scare you into checking more often! Check it out online. I would like you to think of your child every time you shut your doors to your vehicle, whether you have your child with you or not. If you have a baby that you bring to daycare, just check the car again, even if you think you know you dropped off the child.
People in parking lots, it is worth it to glance into the back seat of people’s cars on a hot summer day while you walk into or out of the grocery store or pharmacy. You might just save a life. Moms, dads, caregivers, check on the kids frequently to make sure you know where they are playing on a hot day, or any day. Educate the children themselves on the dangers of playing certain places, like in vehicles or any containers that close, like boxes, refrigerators, or chests.
Children can climb into vehicles, too. I know this from personal experience! It is so scary, and can cause permanent damage, but almost one-third of heat stroke deaths in children is caused by kids playing in cars. If the weather is nice, open the car windows while they sit in the driveway. Tell young children the danger of getting stuck inside a car. Even children as old as 6, 7 or 8 could get themselves stuck inside a car somehow. It is important to never leave any child asleep in a car, even in the shade. Take the out!
You would rather have the child wake up cranky for the rest of the day than to deal with the horror and grief of a child damaged by heat exhaustion or worse! Family activities won’t be disrupted as much by a crying baby as they would be by a tragedy!
If you have more questions about how to avoid heatstroke, WebMD has a great list of ways to avoid the danger of heatstroke. Please view it and discuss it with your caregiver, your spouse or significant other, and your children! Please pay attention and keep kids safe this summer!
Never leave kids or animals in car, even for a minute, even with windows down.
Know that heatstroke can happen in 30 minutes or less, even on a 70 degree day.
If you see a kid in a car, get help right away!
Remind yourself and check – it’s a great idea to put something you need in the back seat, like your cell phone, which you shouldn’t need while driving anyway.
Keep vehicles locked when not in use.
Check on your kids to know where they are!
I hope you and your family have a very safe summer. Help prevent a tragedy in your town by paying attention, being alert and following some basic safety and common sense rules. Contact me, as always, with your comments or questions.