If you think it can’t happen to you – think again. Whether a child ending up in a hot car is the result of you leaving them or them simply wandering off and getting into a car without your knowledge – it happens.
In fact, it is the leading cause of non-accident, vehicle-related deaths for children under 15.
Always Lock Your Car
To prevent your child or other children from entering a hot vehicle, lock your doors at all times. Even if you are in the safest neighborhood you could possibly live in, lock the doors to prevent children from crawling in while you are not watching.
Prevent Avoidable Hot Car Deaths
The fact is, all child deaths resulting from being left in a hot vehicle are preventable. Accidents do not have to happen if you take the appropriate steps to ensure that they don’t.
First of all, always check your backseat before exiting the vehicle. Getting in habit of doing so regardless of if you have a child in tow can prevent a deadly mishap. Avoid all distractions while driving – especially cell phone use.
Engaging in other activities while you are driving can easily put you off track and make it possible to forget to check the backseat or remember a child is in the car with you. Stay on high alert when you have changes to your normal schedule or routine.
Instruct your childcare provider to call you if your child is more than 10 minutes late. If you or someone else drive your child, you will be notified quickly which could save their life. Also, make a habit of putting your belongings in the backseat. Put your cell phone, briefcase, bag, purse or lunch items in the back – always.
This will force you to look in the back seat to retrieve your items before leaving your car.
Take Action if You See a Child in a Hot Car
First, call 911 immediately and if the child is unresponsive or appears to be in pain – get the child out of the car by any and all means necessary. Spray the child with cool water (not ice water) and stay with the child until help arrives.
If the child is responsive and appears to be in good health, you may not need to get the child out of the car if help is on the way. Simply wait with them and monitor their condition until emergency responders arrive.
Have someone else search for the driver or try to locate the car owner. If no one else is around, do not leave the child – just wait for help to arrive.