Each summer I always cringe when I hear sad stories on the new about parents or daycare workers accidentally leaving a child inside of a hot car, in some cases the child was only left alone few minutes. As a mom, I always wondered how and why these kind of things happen to an infant or child. I know that I personally make sure that my kids are out of the car before I lock it or grab things out of the car. So far this summer, I haven’t heard about any of these stories on the news yet but the summer had just begun.
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. The opinions in this post are based upon my own experiences and may be different from your own.
How Hot Does The Inside of a Car Really Get?
Many people think that a car only gets hot enough to cause harm when the temperatures outside are in the 100’s. In fact, temperatures as low as 70 degrees outside can cause the temperature inside of your car to reach dangerous levels. Most people don’t realize that with the car windows rolled up, even in mild temperatures, that the car can easily become a death trap in a short period of time. After 20 minutes, your car can quickly reach up to 120 degrees when the temperature outside is only 90 degrees. Leaving a crack in your window doesn’t significantly reduce the amount of heat trapped in your car, so it is important to take your children or pets with you when you get out of the car.
Keeping your Children Safe from Car Related Heat Illnesses
If you plan on running errands on a hot day, it is best to take your children with you or leave them at home with a trusted adult. Even if you think that your errand won’t take you very long. A simple errand that normally only takes you a few minutes might end up taking you longer to do than you originally planned. You should never take the risk and leave your child inside a locked car. Always pack up your children and take them with you, even if it seems like a pain. It is never okay to leave your children locked in a hot car even with the windows rolled down. It only takes a few minutes for a child, especially, infants to start having signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or even death. If you ever see an infant, child, or children who are locked alone in the car, please pick up a phone and call 911 immediately.
Preventing Heat Related Car Accidents
Always use these few safety tips to avoid your child from getting trapped in a hot car.
- Always lock your car even in the garage.
- Never allow your child to play with your keys.
- Hide your keys in a safe spot if your children are old enough to find the lying on the kitchen counter or in your purse.
- Do warn your child about the potential dangers of playing in an unsupervised car.
- If your car doesn’t have a trunk safety latch installed, get one installed on your car and teach your child how to operate it so if they get trapped in a trunk they know how to get out.
- Always get your kids out of the car first, then come back for any items that you left in your car.
- Do remind yourself that your child is with you in the car and not to forget them. Use a sticky note or some type of reminder to alert you if you aren’t used to having children in the car with you.
- Do ask if your daycare has a plan to protect your child from possible getting left on a hot van bus during outings or field trips.
- If your child rides the bus home or rides home with a friend from school, always check on them to make sure that they have arrived.
- Follow up with the school’s transportation office to determine if they have a plan to ensure that kids aren’t left on the bus at the end of the day.
- NEVER leave your child in a hot car.
- Do call 911 if you ever see a child left in a car unattended.
It only takes a few minutes for your child to sneak your keys while you are busy and end up trapped in a hot car. If you are busy, you might not realize that your child is in trouble.
Use These Safety Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe in the Car
These same safety tips also should be applied to your family pet. If your pet is unable to go into a store with you, then you should leave your pet at home.