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Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car

Every year since 1998, heat stroke or hyperthermia has claimed an average of 37 children when they were left alone in cars.  It need not be a very hot day for the car to become too hot for a young child’s body.  There is no temperature when it is safe to leave a child alone in a car as their bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than an adult’s.  Heat stroke, which can cause permanent brain injury or death, occurs when a child’s core body temperature reaches 107 degrees.  Children as old as 13 have been affected.

We urge all parents and caregivers to NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE IN A CAR for any reason or any amount of time.  Here are some tips to be sure your child does not get left unknowingly in a vehicle:

  • Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.
  • Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child when they reach for their belongings.
  • Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you dropped your child off at day care.
  • Set your computer “outlook” program to ask, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
  • Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare that you will be called within a few minutes. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off little kids at day care.
  • Teach children not to play in any vehicle.
  • Lock all vehicle doors and trunk – especially at home. The car is not a playground.
  • Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child goes missing.

For more information go to www.safekids.org/nlyca .

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