As the Sacramento forecast heats up, it’s important to remember that it is never safe for a child or pet to be left alone in a car – even if the windows are rolled down.
Last year was the worst year on record in the U.S., with 52 reported child deaths from heat stroke after they were left in hot cars. These cases happen when kids are left alone in a car – either they are mistakenly forgotten, or the child gets into an unlocked car without the parent knowing.
“Kids and infants aren’t able to regulate their body temperature very well,” said Misael Chavarin, community education specialist at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program. “If a child’s body temperature gets to 104 degrees, it can lead to heat stroke.”
Even if the outside temperature is relatively low, the vehicle’s interior temperature can rise very quickly.
Experts recommend parents follow these 6 tips:
- Look before you lock. Check the backseat every time you park your car, even if you think you are childless.
- Keep something you need in the backseat. Put your purse, cell phone, shoe or anything essential for your day in the backseat.
- Travel with a stuffed animal. Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. Place it on the front passenger seat to serve as a reminder that the baby is in the back.
- Always lock the doors and put the keys away. This helps prevent kids from playing with keys or getting into the car without parents’ knowledge.
- Have a plan with child care provider. If your child does not show up at daycare or school without prior notice, someone should call you.
- If you see something, do something. If you see a child alone, call 911 immediately.
“There’s no safe amount of time for a child to be left in a car,” said Chavarin. “Don’t wait and see. Call 911 right away. And if they are unresponsive, get them out as quickly as possible.”