Sometimes babies and young children are sleeping so peacefully in the backseat that parents forget they are there. As parents hurry through life’s daily routines, it can be tempting to leave a sleeping child in the car to avoid waking them up to quickly run into the store. But leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke, even in cooler temperatures. Here’s some helpful information and tips for parents about preventing heatstroke in cars.
Hard Facts About Heatstroke
- On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.
- A car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help.
- Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.
Remember to ACT
Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.
Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase or purse in the backseat when traveling with your child.
Take action. 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.