Heat on the rise: tips on how to keep kids safe from hot cars

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Summertime is here, which can be a lethal time for children inside of a hot car, experts say there are steps parents can take to keep their kids safe.

“Take something you cant start your day without and put that on the floor in front of your child’s car seat,” said Kids and Cars Director, Amber Rollins.

Three in 10 children who die from a heat-related injury got into a vehicle that wasn’t in use. Rollins said she commonly hears of instances where children get into a car that is parked. She stresses the importance of locking cars at all times, even if the car is parked in a garage or shaded area, it can still be dangerous for children.

“This happens about 25 percent of the time,” said Rollins. “We want to make sure that everybody, even if you don’t have children, keep your vehicles locked at all times. Children are curious and they will go and get in a neighbors car if they have the opportunity.”

She said parents should also teach their children how to draw attention to themselves so they can get rescued if they do ever become trapped inside a car. Parents can teach their children how to honk the horn, turn on hazard lights, or even place themselves in a visible area inside the vehicle. She stresses the importance of preparing children because leaving a child in a hot car can happen to anyone.

“I’ve never had a parent who’s lost a child this way call me and say, you know, I knew this could happen to me, but that it did,” said Rollins. “Nobody thinks it’s going to happen to them. It’s truly unfathomable to think you could lose awareness of the most important thing in your world.”

Dr. Amy Seery, Via Christi Pediatrician says hot temperatures raise the threat of a heat stroke, which can be deadly for children.

“It only takes about 10 minutes for the temperature in the car to go 20 degrees up, leaving the windows cracked, leaving freshwater whether, for your child or your pet, it’s not going to mitigate that heat intensity,” said Dr. Seery.

Since 1998 nationwide there have been more than 900 children who have died from hot car-related accidents. Dr. Seery said parents should know that even in ambient air temperature, 60 degrees or higher can be lethal for children and animals.

Experts said if you witness a child trapped inside of a car it’s best to call 911. If you observe that the person is in distress, the Good Samaritan Law protects individuals from liability if the vehicle is damaged to help.

“It is everybody’s business when a child or anybody is in danger and you shouldn’t hesitate to jump in and save a life,” said Rollins.

For more information on how to keep kids safe from hot cars click here.

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