As temperatures across some U.S. states, AAA is reminding drivers not to leave children or pets in a vehicle, even for a short amount of time.
In just ten minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle can jump 20 degrees. Because a child’s body temperatures increases three to five times faster than adults, they are far more vulnerable to heatstroke. Last year, 52 kids died of vehicular heatstroke.
Tips to prevent a heatstroke tragedy:
- Never leave your child or pet in your vehicle, if only for a minute. Even on mild or overcast days, the internal temperature of a vehicle can increase quickly, causing possible heatstroke or even death.
- Sheer forgetfulness is one of the major causes of heatstroke deaths. A rushed or distracted caregiver can easily forget a quiet child who is in the vehicle. Create reminders and habits to prevent you from leaving a loved one behind. For example: leave an item in the back seat, such as a purse or briefcase, that you will need to retrieve at your next stop.
- Take action if you see an unattended child or pet in a vehicle. Call 911 and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.
- Discuss the issue of hot-car safety with everyone who drives your child, including partners, grandparents and babysitters.
- If your pet can’t come with you when you get out of the vehicle leave the pet at home.
- Lock your car at all times – even in your garage or driveway – so young kids can’t climb into the vehicle without your knowledge.