Getting Trapped in a Parked Car in the Summer Can Be Deadly
As summer heats up, remember that leaving a child inside a car — even for a few minutes — can lead to heatstroke, or worse.
A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, so even parking in the shade with windows open creates a dangerous risk for anyone left inside.
Mild weather can be deceiving, too. On a 70-degree day, a car’s internal temperature can reach 89 degrees in just 10 minutes and 104 degrees in 30 minutes. Heatstroke begins when a body’s core temperature reaches about 104 degrees and is deadly at 107 degrees.
In 2019, 52 children died in the U.S. after being left or trapped in a vehicle. Sheer forgetfulness was one of the major causes. A rushed or distracted caregiver can easily forget about a quiet child, especially on days that differ from a usual routine.
Here’s how you can keep your child safe:
- Put something in the back seat that will be needed at the next stop, such as a purse or briefcase, to remind you that a child is on board.
- Request to be contacted immediately when your child does not arrive at school, day care or other activity.
- Discuss hot-car safety with everyone who drives your child, including partners, grandparents and babysitters.
- It is also important to keep vehicles locked at all times, even when parked in a garage or driveway, so young kids cannot climb in and become trapped.
- And when you see an unattended child in a vehicle, take action. Call 911 and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.
Hot cars can be deadly for animals, too. If you cannot bring your pet into a store or restaurant with you, the best protection is to leave them at home.