With mid-summer temperatures likely to be in the upper 90s and the heat index climbing into the 100s, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department officials remind everyone to remember a potential danger that affect young children.
Did you know a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees in 10 minutes? Or that the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees?
Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle for even a minute is not acceptable, officials said. Unfortunately, young children every year are left alone in vehicles that quickly heat up, causing injury or death to the children. Some of the cases involve kids getting into unlocked vehicles unbeknownst to their parents and quickly succumbing to the heat. Make sure your car is locked when you are not in it so kids are not able to gain access, officials said.
Follow these tips from kidsandcars.org:
• Remember to look before you lock. Get into 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’ll need like your cellphone, handbag, employee ID or briefcase, etc., in the back seat so you 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, place the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
• Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off. If your child does not show up as scheduled, and the daycare provider has not received a call from the parent, the provider pledges to contact the parent immediately to ensure the child’s safety.
• Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, childcare providers and neighbors to do the same.
• Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
• Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even for a minute.
• If a child goes missing, immediately and very carefully check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on his or her own, but may not be able to unlock them.
• Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes, holidays and periods of crisis, as these are times when many tragedies occur.
• Use drive-through services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.
• 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 quickly as possible.