Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot Cars + Children = Very bad things!

It's  hot as, well, you know where today. When I went out to my car I was reminded of just HOW hot it was. It also reminded me of  one particular summer day last year when I came out of the local Babies R Us with my little Honeybee. It was actually 103 degrees (which is not a typical summer day here in the New England.)  So I had turned on the car and was blasting the air conditioner to cool the car down a bit before we got it.  After loading Honeybee into her car seat I turned around and noticed there was a child in the back seat of the car next to us.  I knew he hadn't been there long as the other passengers had left the car as I was getting to mine, but it doesn't take long for a car to heat up in the summer sun.

According to Jan Null, CCM from the Department of Geosciences, SFSU there are on average 38 deaths per year due to children being left or trapped inside hot cars. While this seems like a small number this is a very avoidable death. According to this study, within 10 minutes the temperature in the car rose almost 20 degrees, and by 60 minutes the temperature rose 43 degrees.  "Cracking" the windows had little effect. Add that to a 90 degree day...not a good scenario.

In many cases these deaths have occurred not because of negligent parenting but by sheer accident. As families get busier and busier, we need to remember to take a minute to make sure that our precious children are not left in the car when we leave it.  There are many ways to remind ourselves  such as putting a toy in the front seat to remind us when a child is in the car. There are window stickers you can get to remind you too. 

Here are some safety recommendations courtesy of Null's Study
  • Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.  IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area. 
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
  • Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
  • Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.
  • Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.

Bottom line. NEVER leave your child in the car even for a moment as it only takes minutes for a tragedy to occur

ps: in case you were wondering how my story ends: After trying all the doors on the car (which were locked)I ended up unpacking honeybee from the car and going back into the store and reporting this to the woman at the customer service desk. They called 911 and were able to quickly locate the parents so tragedy in this case was averted.


Small Kucing said...

There was a case in my country where an idiot father went and left his daughter in the car and totally forgot about her while he was attnding a funeral. Sad to say the next funeral he attanded was his daughter's


ssactivekids said...

Small Kucing, I've read studies about this in the past. If you read about these incidents, it's usually an accident due to a disruption in someone's daily routine. People are creatures of habit, and unless he chose to leave his daughter in the car, it seems his regular schedule/mental state may have been disrupted by the fact that somebody he knew had died. I am not defending his actions, but explaining them. We had a case in my hometown where a child was left in the car all day because that morning one of the parents needed a ride to the airport and therefore their normal routine was disrupted and the diaper bag that normally went with the child to day care was in the back, not sitting on the front seat as usual, since the father needed to sit in the seat on the way to the airport. The mother drove right to work and accidentally left the child. While something like this is tragic, I can completely understand how it could happen and feel horrible for the parents.

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