Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beat the Heat, Check the Back Seat



All over Southern California temperatures have been well into the hundreds so we have to be mindful that we keep our little ones car safe.

According to Jan Null of San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences, there have been at least twenty-three deaths of children due to hyperthermia (heat stroke) after being in hot cars, trucks, vans and SUV's.  In 2011 there were at least 33 juvenile vehicular hyperthermia fatalities.  Since 1998 there have been at least a total of 550 of these needless tragedies.  This study shows that these incidents can occur on days with relatively mild (i.e., ~ 70 degrees F) temperatures and that vehicles can reach life-threatening temperatures very rapidly.

 LA Times:  Deputy describes rescuing children locked in hot car


Null suggests the following safety recommendations:
  • NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE.  NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE ! 
  • IF YOU SEE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A HOT VEHICLE CALL 9-1-1. 
  • Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.  IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area. 
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver. Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
  • Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.
    Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school. 
Your pets shouldn't be left in hot cars either.

"Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area ... but it can easily become tragedy."