Last updated on August 6, 2019 at 11:55 am
It only takes a few minutes during warmer weather for the inside of a car to heat up to temperatures that are hazardous to children and pets.
In fact, when it’s in the low 80s outside, the inside of a car can reach deadly temperatures in only 10 minutes, even with a window rolled down two inches, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Children are lost to car heatstroke incidents every year. On average, there have been 38 child deaths due to car heatstroke each year in the U.S. since 1998, according to noheatstroke.org. More than half of the time, children are forgotten by their caregiver. The next most common circumstance is a child playing unattended in a car.
There are simple steps that you can take to protect your children and pets from car heatstroke deaths. From the NHTSA:
- Never leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open, or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on.
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
- Ask your childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected.
- Leave reminders for yourself that pets or children are in the car, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the backseat so you’ll check before leaving.
- Teach children that a vehicle isn’t a play area. Store your keys out of the reach of children.
- If you do see a child alone in a car, dial 911 immediately. A child in distress should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.