FEATURE | Posted Sept. 9, 2015

High temperatures pose danger to kids, pets left in cars

Tips to help keep family and pets safe

Photograph of sleeping child in car © iStockphoto
Tip: Keep a stuffed animal or toy in the car seat. Place it on the front passenger seat to serve as a reminder that the baby is in the back.

With triple digit temperatures still in the Sacramento weather forecast, 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.

As of Aug. 13, there have been 14 child vehicular heat stroke deaths in the United States this year. These cases happen when kids are left unattended 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 Stacey Salvato, clinical resource nurse at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “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 the following tips for parents:

  • 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 childcare 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 Salvato. “Don’t wait and see, call 911 right away. And if they are unresponsive, get them out as quickly as possible,” said Salvato.

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