Child Vehiculiar Heat Stroke Can Happen in Less than 10 Minutes
Posted on August 24th, 2015 by Zane Cagle
In warm weather, a vehicle can warm to dangerous, life-threatening levels in only 10 minutes.
Summer daytime temperatures can cause death in 10 minutes or less. According to KidsAndCars.org 15 children have died so far this year due to vehicular heat stroke. Car windows act like a greenhouse and trap sunlight and heat.
When cars are parked in direct sunlight even in temperatures of 60 degrees, temperatures can reach 131 Fahrenheit in a short time. In summer months, even with the windows rolled down two inches, the temperature inside the car can reach 109 degrees in only 15 minutes.
While car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for children, these heatstroke deaths are not included in those statistics.
KidsAndCars.org Offer Many Great Safety Reminders
- Never leave a child alone in or around a vehicle; not even for a minute
- “Look Before You Lock” – Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. Make sure no child has been left behind.
- Create a reminder to check the back seat.
- Put something you will need with you such as your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case in the backseat so that you will have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat so it can be a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
- Make sure you have a strict policy with childcare provider about daycare droppoff so that as the parent you contact the childcare provider if your child is not attenting that day but the daycare calls you immediately if your child does not show up as scheduled. (Many elementary, middle and high schools have a similar notification systems such as “absence-line”.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times even in the garage or driveway. Ask visitors and neighbors to do the same.
- Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children
- If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trucks of all vehicles in the area very carefully even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering the vehicle and not be able to unlock them
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as soon as possible.
- Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holiday as this is when many tragedies occur
- Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry-cleaners, etc) and pay for gas at the pump.
- Visit KidsAndCars.org for more safety tips
What Can We Learn From These Tragedies?
If there can be one positive that comes from these tragedies, let it be awareness and education in order to prevent future injuries and death to children. We’re all horrified every time we hear about another child lost due to heatstroke. Hopefully, more reminders and education will save more lives.
Implement reminders for yourself if you have children, and if you see a child in a locked car–call 911 immediately and you may have to resort to breaking a window to save the child.
If you have questions or suggestions to increase child safety, we are always happy to hear from you.
At The Cagle Law Firm, we represent children who have been injured, but more importantly encourage awareness to improve child safety. Call us seven days a week locally 314. 276.1681 or toll free 1.800.685.3302