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Summer Safety Tip: Kids in Hot Cars

Summers in Florida can be brutal. Before all of the summer fun begins, remember to keep children safe by making sure no child is left in a vehicle unattended. It may seem like a no brainer, but the occurrence is more common than you might expect.  

What you may not know. The temperature in a vehicle can rise by almost 20 degrees within just 10 minutes. Vehicles heat up rapidly even on mild weather days. This rapid degree shift can cause heatstroke and vital organs to shut down once the body’s temperature reaches over 104 degrees. For children, this is especially dangerous because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults. 

How it happens. Hot vehicle related incidents do not always occur because of a conscious decision. Parents are often overloaded with work and life responsibilities which can lead to unintentional carelessness. A parent could easily become distracted, forget to drop their child off at daycare, and leave the child in the car. Children can also gain access to unattended vehicles and become trapped inside. This is not uncommon. In other circumstances, parents may believe it’s okay to leave their child in the car to make a “quick” run into the store. All circumstances could ultimately lead to child fatality.  

How to prevent it. Leaving a child in a vehicle by mistake is a scary thought, but it does happen. Take the following measures to ensure your child’s safety this summer: 

• Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.
• Keep your car locked when you are not in it so kids don't gain access.
• Create reminders by putting something in the back seat next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse, cell phone, or your left shoe.
• If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
• Set a calendar reminder on your electronic device to make sure you dropped your child off at daycare; develop a plan so you will be alerted if your child is late or a no-show.

Be especially conscious of Florida’s hot summer days and take extra precaution to keep your child safe from hot vehicles. Being aware and alert of the dangers can give you better peace of mind to enjoy your family plan this summer.  

Source: National Safety Council