Did you know the heat inside a closed vehicle can rise by 50 degrees above the outside temperature within 30 minutes and 19 of those degrees happen within the first 10 minutes? Let’s put those figures into the weather here in Kentucky this past week. Take, for instance, a high of 92 degrees… add 50 more and the inside temperature of the car is 142 degrees. In the first 10 minutes the temperature would have already reached 119. Thorough studies have been completed and found that even leaving the window partially down does not reduce the amount of heat accumulating in the vehicle as the heat is absorbed by the interior of the vehicle. It is never OK to leave kids in cars… not even for a few minutes.
Most of us are aware just how hot the interior of a vehicle gets. Have you ever sat on a hot leather seat, touched a hot steering wheel, grabbed the metal of the seat belt? No doubt, you quickly removed yourself from the hot item. It hurt!
The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. Heat stroke is caused from the body heating up and not being able to release that heat. Heat stroke starts to occur when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Given that in the scenario above, the outside temperature is 92 and within 10 minutes the temperature inside the vehicle is 119, it is easy to see how quickly heat stroke can occur. Add the fact that a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult and you can see it would only take a couple minutes locked in a hot car for a child to succumb to heat stroke.
The Best Intentions
Many of us stop at the gas station and think, “OH, I’ll just be a minute” and leave the children behind in the car. Fifteen minutes later you emerge from the store. You got stuck in line behind a person who purchased 30 lottery tickets and had to scratch right there at the desk regardless of what the cashier said to deter them. We cannot control what is happening in the store. We are not in control of the time it takes us to come out. Are you willing to risk the life of your child? The 52 child deaths that occurred in 2018 and the 19 this year (to date), happened to parents of all income levels. Some may blame this on the education of the parent/caregiver, income, mental capacity… but, it spans the differences between us. No one gender, race, income, religion, intelligence, profession… is at fault. It’s not bad parenting, it’s a matter of distraction, rush, autopilot, change in routine, overly tired… its life impacting! It is a horrifying accident due to intentional and unintentional leaving of a child in a car.
In deaths related to children left in cars since 1998, 19% of the deaths occurred to parents/caregivers intentionally leaving the child in a car, 54% of the children died due to unintentionally being left in the car, while and additional 26% died due to gaining access to a hot vehicle and not being able to get back out.
What can we do?
What we can take from this information is this… kids in cars without an adult is extremely hazardous!
- Look before you leave your vehicle… look in the front seat, look in the back seat! Always lock your vehicle to keep children out and safe.
- Never assume you will just be in a store for a minute!
- Place a reminder in your car,
- Put your purse, phone, laptop in the back seat,
- Talk to your child on the drive… this is quality teaching time
- Take different routes to the sitter or childcare so you don’t stay on autopilot,
- Don’t allow yourself to become distracted while on your journey to deliver your precious package to daycare.
- Set an alarm on your phone for the time you should be dropping off your child.
- Count to 10 before walking away from your vehicle to give you time to think… did I forget anything.
- Set your audible GPS to the caregiver destination and follow it daily.
- Keep vehicles locked and the keys out of the children’s reach.
- Teach children that it is not OK to play in a vehicle.
If you notice children in a locked car who are not responding call 911 and stay with the child.
For more information please go to the National Safety Council’s website and complete the Free Online Course: Children in Hot Cars training. Kidz World Childcare, Inc. encourages all parents/caregivers to take this training!! Kidz World parents, if you complete the training and bring in your certificate showing completion, you will be entered into a raffle for a prize of $130 toward weekly tuition or a cash option. You must provide the certificate of completion to be entered into the drawing! One certificate per family may be submitted. The drawing will be held on July 31, 2019.
Also, a friendly reminder… Please remember to NOT leave your fur baby in a hot car!
Author: Belinda Davis ©2019