In the heat of the summer, child safety is an issue of much concern to motorists across the U.S. You have probably heard that you should never leave a child alone in a parked vehicle, even if it is "just for a minute" while you "run in" to the local store to pick up a prescription or a soda at a convenience store. Even when outside temperatures are in the low 80s°, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes – even with a window slightly rolled down.
Hyperthermia, or heat stroke, is estimated to claim the lives of approximately 38 children every year, who are trapped inside motor vehicles. Even the most well-intentioned parent may make a deadly mistake by leaving a sleeping baby in a car. The parent may simply forget or may think that no harm will come to their child by making a quick stop while the child waits in the vehicle. Left unattended, a child may climb into the trunk of an unlocked car and become trapped inside.
Take a story involving a three-year-old who found her way into her mother's car, which was unlocked and parked in the driveway of the family home. In the 30 minutes she was missing, it is believed that she went to the car to get something she had left behind and shut the door to hide from her mother and grandfather. The temperature inside the vehicle caused the girl to suffer from heat stroke and ultimately die in the hospital several days later.
This summer, take extra care if you have children. Double-check the back seat when you park and prepare to get out of your vehicle, even if you do not believe that you are responsible for your child or children that day. Always lock your vehicle and keep your keys out of your child's reach when you are at home. Keep a close eye on your children when they are playing outside. As temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat stroke from being left or trapped inside a vehicle.