NILES — Every year, children die from heatstroke after being accidently left in parked vehicles. Even with mild temperatures outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. To prevent this tragedy, police say parents and caregivers should never leave a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. They should keep their cars locked when not in them so children don’t get in on their own.
Police also suggest putting something in the back of the car next to the child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at the final destination, especially important if not following a normal routine.
“A hot car can be deadly,” Michigan State Police Community Service Trooper Holly Higgs from the Niles Post stated in a news release. “Always be sure to look twice before getting out. It’s easier than you think to forget a baby in the backseat.”With summer fast approaching, Higgs suggests taking these steps to remember not to leave a child in a vehicle:
• Write yourself a note and place it where you’ll see it when you leave the vehicle.
• Place your bag, briefcase or something else you’re sure to need in the back seat so you’ll see a child left in the vehicle.
• Keep an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. Once the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she leaves the vehicle.
• Ask your child care center to call you if your child doesn’t arrive on time for child care.
• If you are dropping your child off at child care, and it’s normally your spouse, partner or caregiver who drops them off, have them call you to make sure the drop-off went according to plan.
• If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly (not in an ice bath, but by spraying them with cool water).
For more information and safety tips about preventing child heatstroke deaths, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.