Keeping kids out of hot cars

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If you drive your kids or grandkids around in the back seat of your car on a regular basis, make it a practice to always open the back door and look in the back seat before you leave your car. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A few weeks back, we ran a piece about the dangers of leaving kids in overheated cars. Here are some tips on how to make sure that never happens to you.

The safety group KidsAndCars.com calls it “Look Before You Lock” – if you drive your kids or grandkids around in the back seat of your car on a regular basis, make it a practice to always open the back door and look in the back seat before you leave your car. Do it at home, at the supermarket, at work, at the daycare center, everywhere. Think of it as your personal ‘no child left behind’ rule. Kids heat up faster in a hot environment; a sleeping child left in a car seat or a toddler who climbs back in while playing is at risk.

“You can also use a stuffed animal,” says Christopher Haines, D.O., director of the Department of Emergency Medicine and the medical director of the Transport Team at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.  “Keep it in the car seat when no one’s sitting there, put it in the front seat when your child is in the car seat. It’s a reminder.”

Other strategies recommended by KidsAndCars include:

 

  • Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat.
  • Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.
  • Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
  • When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
  • Use drive‐thru services when available – at restaurants, banks, drug stores, dry cleaners,  ice cream shops.
  • Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.

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