Here in Las Vegas, we know all about hot weather. Summer temperatures average over 100 degrees, and the desert heat can be overwhelming at times. One of the major dangers of hot weather can occur by accidentally leaving a child or pet in a parked car, causing the car to overheat, resulting in hyperthermia (elevated body temperature caused by heat stroke). On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.
Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level, and cracking the window does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects of this heat can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults. On an average sunny day, the temperature inside a parked car can exceed 122°F in just 10-20 minutes. Here are some ways to avoid a heat stroke tragedy:
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
- Put something you’ll need, such as a cell phone, handbag or employee ID, on the floor board in the back seat so you’ll have to check there.
- Keep a stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when unoccupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder.
- Ask child care providers to call if your child doesn’t show up when expected.
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved.
- Hide your keys from the kids so they don't get into the car to play unsupervised.
Thank you to KidsandCars.org for providing this helpful information!