Dangers of Leaving Kids in Cars
During periods of high temperatures, children should not be left alone in a vehicle, even for a short period of time. Within minutes, temperatures reach dangerous levels that can pose a serious health risk.Parents should be especially alert when temperatures reach 80 degrees or higher. In hot weather, temperatures in a closed vehicle can cause heat stroke and, in a matter of minutes, lead to permanent disability or death. The following safety precautions can prevent heat-related injuries in cars:
- Keep cars locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway.
- Teach children not to play in or around cars. Never leave a child unattended in a car, even with the windows open.
- When leaving a vehicle, make sure all child passengers are out of the car.
- If your child gets locked inside a car, seek assistance immediately by calling 9-1-1 or a local emergency number.
- Make sure to check the temperature of the car seat surface and safety belt buckles before restraining your children in the car seat.
- Use a light covering to shade the seat of your parked car. Consider using windshield shades in front and back windows.
Car trunks also are hazardous because children can climb into them and are not always able to get out. To avoid such hazards:
Keep the trunk of your car locked at all times, especially when parked in the driveway or near the home.
- Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
- Put car keys out of children's sight and reach.
- Be wary of child-resistant locks. Teach children how to disable the driver's door locks if they unintentionally become trapped.
- Contact your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.