Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hot Cars and Kids are a Deadly Combination

This is a car accident that CAN be avoided

This time of year, temperatures in cars soar quickly and even with a window cracked, the temperature in a car can beome life-threatening within minutes. As temperatures rise, so does the risk of children being forgotten in vehicles, still strapped in their carseats, and dying from excessive heat exposure. The body temperature of children rises 3 – 5 times faster than adults and, as a result, children are much more vulnerable to heat stroke. Across the country, July is typically the deadliest month for child fatalities in hot cars and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service officials are reminding busy parents that it is NEVER okay to leave a child unattended in a car for any length of time or at any time of year. Busy parents have a lot on their minds and are urged to review the following safety tips to avert a heat-related tragedy as temperatures across the Washington Metropolitan area continue to soar:

• NEVER leave infants, children, pets or the elderly unattended in a parked car where temperatures can surge quickly and become life-threatening within minutes, even with the windows cracked.

• To avoid forgetting your child, always put your cell phone, PDA, gym bag, purse or briefcase, and anything else you'll need that day, on the floor of the backseat. When you retrieve it at the end of the ride, you'll see your child.

• Set the alarm on your cell phone/smartphone as a reminder to you to drop your child off at day care.

• Take your children inside the home, and then unload groceries, dry cleaning and other items.

• Never assume someone else -- a spouse, an older child -- has taken a young child out of their carseat upon arrival at your destination.

• Keep vehicles locked at all times, always set your parking brake and keep keys and/or remote openers out of reach of children.

• Hot interior surfaces of a car can burn a child’s skin. Before you put your child in a car that has been parked in a warm/sunny spot, check the temperature of the carseat or upholstery first.

• Don’t let kids play in vehicles and if a child is missing, check vehicles and trunks FIRST as well as any swimming areas.

• Keep a teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. When you put your child in the seat, move the animal to the front passenger seat to remind you that your baby's on board.

• Establish a plan with your child's babysitter or daycare provider to always phone you promptly if your child isn't dropped off as scheduled.

• Establish a routine of always checking the back seat everytime you exit the car to ensure no one is left behind. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.

• If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately.

• Consider using drive-thru or curbside services (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) when available.

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