During COVID-19, Remember These 4 Tips to Prevent Heatstroke in Hot Cars
In the past two years, more than 100 children have died of heatstroke because they were alone or became trapped in a hot car. This is a tragedy that can happen to even the best families, particularly in this time of coronavirus pandemic when family routines have been disrupted and parents have so many priorities to think about.
We don’t want to see this happen to you! During COVID-19, be especially careful to avoid stress-related tragedies by remembering the following 4 tips:
- Never leave your child alone in a car, not even during a quick trip to the store. While leaving your child in the car alone might seem like a good idea during these challenging times, it is not worth the risk. Cars can heat up to dangerous levels in just a short amount of time, even on mild, sunny days – and cracking a window doesn’t help. Temperatures inside the car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes, and a child's body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's. It’s easy to get distracted or delayed in the store, one of the scenarios that has led to too many unintentional tragedies. This is a time to consider all your options and to find other ways to get your shopping done. Many stores are delivering or offering curbside pickup, neighbors are helping each other by combining trips and leaving the kids home with a sitter may be the best choice. You will probably like the peace and quiet.
- Keep car doors and trunks locked and keep key fobs out of reach. With many families home and dealing with a new environment and responsibilities, supervision can be more difficult. Kids as young as 1 or 2 years old are known to climb into unlocked cars and trunks to play, but they can’t always get out. Locking your car doors and reminding your neighbors (even those without kids) to do the same provides an important level of protection. It is one less thing to worry about. If, for some reason, you cannot find a child you thought was just outside playing, check cars, trunks and pools first.
- Create reminders. During COVID we are all distracted, and we know that distraction and schedule disruptions have been major contributors to heatstroke deaths since 1998. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move the toy to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Others have told us they place their phone, briefcase or purse in the backseat when traveling with their child. During COVID we are all distracted, and we need all the help we can get to be safe.
- Take action. We are all in this global crisis together. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. Many bystanders have helped save a child who was dangerously sick and alone in a vehicle.
We know these are challenging times. That’s why it’s more important than ever to remember the proven solutions that prevent injuries and save lives.