Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Safety Alert: Heat, Cars, and Kids

Every summer the news is riddled with tragic reports about infants or toddlers, found or forgotten in cars, dying from heat exposure. It is a tragedy that can strike anyone; and while these stories are terrifying and heartbreaking, it is important to note that there are ways to help prevent this tragedy.  

image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/
  • NEVER leave children alone in a car - not even for a moment; their bodies respond to increased temperature far more quickly (3 to 5 times more rapidly) than adults' and can suffer devastating damage or even death in a very short time. 
  • Be particularly careful if you change your routine for dropping off children at child care; these suggestions can help remind you that your children are with you, even if they fall asleep:
    • Place a sticky note or cling on your dashboard to remind you that your child is in your vehicle.
    • Always put an object that you can't leave your car without (i.e. purse, lunch, laptop, etc.) in the backseat where the child is seated.
    • Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat when it is not in use; when you place your child in the car seat, move the stuffed toy to the front seat.
    • Place your youngest or quietest child behind the passenger seat - you will be better able to notice if the child is there than if they are in a seat behind the driver's side.
    • Have your spouse or the child's day care provider contact you immediately if the child does not arrive at the day care facility at the normally appointed time.
  • Teach children NEVER to play in any vehicle.
  • Always keep vehicle doors and trunk locked, particularly at home, and keep keys out of the reach of children.
  • Install a trunk release mechanism to help prevent entrapment.
  • Watch children closely around vehicles to be sure they do not enter unnoticed, particularly during loading/unloading.
  • Double-check to ensure all children have left the vehicle when you reach your final destination.
  • If a child goes missing, in addition to checking pools and other bodies of water, check all nearby vehicles.
  • If you see a child alone in a car, dial 911 immediately.
For more helpful information and great products that can help keep your child(ren) safe in the car, check out  Safe, happy, and healthy travels.

-Destination Mom

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