The summer months are coming, which in Oklahoma means extremely high temperatures. This is also the time of year we begin to hear about heat related deaths. These deaths seem especially tragic, because many of them could be prevented. Watching over the people you care about is a start, but eliminating conditions that can cause these deaths is also vitally important.
Lock your car every time you leave it. This prevents children from getting in a hot car while unattended. Up to 1/3 of heat related deaths occurred when a child was playing in an unlocked car and became trapped inside.
Do not leave children (or pets) in the car for any period of time. When you get out, make sure everybody gets out with you. More than 50% of the incidents of children dying in a hot car occur when a distracted adult forgot that a child was in the back seat. Further, with child safety locks children in a car may not be able to get out.
When transporting a child is not part of your normal routine, set up a way to remind yourself, so that you check the backseat before you leave the car. If you are transporting children and groceries or other cargo, make sure you take the children out first.
Temperatures in a car can climb in excess of 140˚ in minutes. This is true even if a window is open. Also, a child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s, and infants become dehydrated quickly and have additional problems regulating body heat.
Teach you children not to play in or around cars. This includes the trunk. Many current cars have emergency trunk releases, so you may want to show your child how that works.
If you see a child alone in a locked, parked car, call 911. Even in cooler weather, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. By securing your vehicle, taking everyone out with you, and teaching your children about the dangers of playing in vehicles, we may be able to prevent a tragic loss.