Every year, dozens of children and pets are killed by being left in the smoldering heat of a locked, hot car. In fact, over 600 children have been killed in hot cars since 1990 in the United States, according to WebMD.
The average number of child deaths per year by way of hot cars is estimated at 38, according to USA Today.
Those numbers, along with the recent death of a toddler in Lake City, are overwhelming considering that they could have easily been avoided. The internet is full of tips and apps that can assist parents in avoiding the nightmare that impacts so many families every year.
Helpful Tips and Facts
- While it may seem like common sense, parents should always take their kids out of the car, no matter how brief their trip outside of the vehicle, according to WebMD.
- "On a day that is just 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature [inside a car] can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and 70% of this increase occurs the first 30 minutes," says Christopher Haines, director of pediatric emergency medicine at St. Christoper's Hospital in Philadelphia (h/t WebMD).
- Use technology to assist you! With every day that goes by, technology is improving and so are ways to protect you, your loved ones and your pets. There are several apps, such as Precious Cargo, that provide heat warnings in vehicles which are extremely easy to use and will keep you constantly alert. There are also devices, such as the Intel Smart Clip, that attaches to a child's car seat and notifies parents with temperature adjustments during travel.
- KidsandCars.org recommends putting something important like a cell phone or wallet in the backseat of the car so you are forced to remember to check the backseat for a child. The site also recommends the use of a stuffed animal that can switch places with the child when he or she is not in the car seat. When the child is in the car seat, parents can put the stuffed animal in the front seat as another reminder.
- To prevent children from getting into vehicles, make sure to always keep the car locked and to always check the vehicle and its trunk if they go missing, according to KidsandCars.org.
- New parents need to be extremely aware of their children in the car. More than 70% of car heat stroke deaths involve children that are two or younger, according to USA Today.
- Remember: Cracking a window or avoiding sunlight does not assure a child's safety from extreme temperatures.