OKLAHOMA – To most, it’s unthinkable.
Leaving a child in a car is something no parent or caregiver can fathom.
But the tragic fact is that it does happen, and all too frequently.
Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all the states.
Temperatures inside a car, even on a mild 72-degree sunny day, can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Children and pets are particularly susceptible to heatstroke because their bodies heat up five times faster than adults.
44 children have died in the U.S. after being in a vehicle in 2013. Two of those were in Oklahoma, according to AAA.
607 children have died across the country as a result of heatstroke from being left in the vehicle since 1998. Oklahoma ranks 9th in the nation per capita for children dying in cars, according to AAA.
Here are some simple tips:
Look before you lock. Always check the front and back seats of your vehicle before you get out and lock your vehicle.
Be aware of “breaking your routine.” Ask your child care provider to call if your child does not show up to daycare when they normally do.
Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, even if the car is running or the window is cracked.
Warn your children about the dangers of playing in and around vehicles. Always lock your doors, and keep keys out of reach so children cannot get into the car.
If you spot a child or pet inside a hot, locked vehicle, call 911 immediately.