How to prevent hot car deaths after recent spate of fatalities

Experts are reminding the public of the dangers of heat stroke after a recent wave of deaths in hot cars.

The latest incident occurred on Sunday, when an 11-month-old girl in Palm Bay, Florida, died after being left in a car while authorities said her parents attended a religious service for three hours.

The temperature in the east-central Florida city reached 70 degrees that day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, temperatures inside a car can climb to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the outside temperature is in the 70s.

The NHTSA also notes that heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, which can lead to death, can begin to occur when body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A child can die when their internal body temperature reaches 107 F due to their body’s inability to further regulate its temperature, leading to organ failure and death.

According to the nonprofit organization Kids and Car Safety, at least six children have already died this year in a hot car and more than 1,050 children have died since 1990. Thirty-three children died last year as a result of being in a car. hot, according to NHTSA.

“This is something most parents would like to believe would never happen to them. However, what we know after documenting more than 1,000 deaths is that this happens to wonderful, loving and responsible parents,” said the child and car safety director, Amber Rollins. Good morning America.” “It can literally happen to anyone, even… organized and safety-conscious parents, so it is very important that families take these dangers seriously and take precautions to keep their children safe. “.

With just three weeks to go until the official start of summer, here’s what parents and caregivers need to know, as well as the top five tips to avoid car crash deaths.

Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

The #1 tip for any parent or caregiver is to never leave a child in a car, even for a short period of time. “Rolling down the windows or parking in the shade does little to change the interior temperature of the vehicle,” the NHTSA states.

Always check a car before driving away

Rollins calls this important step the “look before you block” reminder.

“We want people to make it a habit, whichever way they have to, so that it becomes a habit to open the tailgate and check the backseat every time they get out of their vehicle,” Rollins said.

“If a child goes missing, check the interior floors and trunks of all vehicles in the area immediately, even if they are locked,” he continued.

Always close the car doors after completing a check

“We want to keep our cars locked 100% of the time, even if you don’t have kids,” Rollins said. “Keep your vehicle keys and remote openers out of the reach of children at all times so they can’t get to them if they’re locked.”

Ask the child care provider or a family member for notifications.

“If your child goes to daycare or a family member watches over him[s] during the day, any type of child care, you want to make the policy with them, that they will call you right away if your child doesn’t show up as scheduled,” Rollins said.

Use a reminder item

“Any time you put the baby in the back seat, put something in the back seat on the floor right in front of him that he can’t start his day without,” Rollins said, adding that a laptop might work for a parent. What do you need to work with a computer?

“Have some kind of stuffed animal, a big shiny stuffed animal or a memento item in your car. So for me, I have this big giant lion stuffed animal. You can’t miss it. I mean, it’s nasty and that stuffed animal lives in the car seat. And then every time I put my son in the car seat, that stuffed animal rolls up to the front seat with me as a visual reminder that he’s with me.”

Both the NHTSA and Rollins also recommend teaching children about the dangers of being in a car and how a car should not be considered a play area.

“We talk to our kids about how it’s never safe to get in a vehicle without an adult,” Rollins said.

Additionally, Rollins said parents can take additional steps to safeguard their homes and vehicles.

“A lot of times what happens in these cases is mom and dad think the little kid is napping. The little kid wakes up from his nap and sneaks out and gets in the car, and then they can’t get out again. , and before anyone knows it, it’s too late,” Rollins said.

“Then you can get those childproof doorknob covers. Also, you could buy these little sticky alarms that you can put on the door [leading to the] outside your home and alert you with a visual and audible alert that a door has been opened,” he added.

If a child in distress is found or seen inside an unattended vehicle, NHTSA reminds everyone to immediately call 911. A child in a hot car should be removed from the vehicle as soon as possible and cool down quickly, according to NHTSA .