Recently I had the absolute pleasure of babysitting my two young granddaughters, ages three and four.
As we celebrated summer with ice cream, swimming and fun at the park, I reflected on (what seems like) the inevitable stories we hear each year – a child dying after being left in a hot car. I cannot fathom what the families of these children go through after such a tragedy.
Of course there are potential charges associated with leaving a child (or pet) in a hot car – endangering children, cruelty to animals etc., but nothing can be as bad as suffering a horrific loss and knowing it was preventable.
According to www.kidsandcars.org
, an average of 38 children die each year from heat-related deaths in cars. Story after story is featured. A change in routine, a memory lapse, a shift in focus can have devastating effects.
As we kick-off summer, it’s important to slow down. Nothing can be taken for granted when the stakes are so high.
As tempting as it may be, NEVER leave children or pets in a car even for “just a few minutes” while you run an errand. Cracked windows do not help. Getting children in and out of a car seat is sometimes a hassle, but on a 75-degree day, a car can reach in excess of 100 degrees in just 10 minutes. Remember, children heat up faster than adults, and pets have a higher body temperature than people, and don’t cool down as efficiently.
So what can we do? Some tips include putting something like a cell phone, purse, or ID badge in the backseat. That way you will be forced to open the back door and do a double check.
Keep a stuffed animal in an unoccupied car seat. When the child is in the car seat, the stuffed animal goes in the front seat as a reminder.
Make arrangements with your daycare provider to call you if your child is not dropped off. Keep car doors and windows locked so children cannot play in a hot car and become trapped. Paying at the pump and going through the drive through are safer than going into a store and leaving children behind.
When it comes to your pets, love them enough to leave them home. And finally, if you see a child or animal in a hot car, get involved and notify authorities. It’s best to play it safe, and you may just save a life.