TULSA, Okla. – As temperatures begin to rise across the state, organizations are reminding parents to double check their vehicles before locking the doors.
During the summer months, children are forgotten in cars far too often.
“A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Rachelle Roosevelt, TFI Family Connections. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why Safe Kids is asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.
Since 1998, more than 790 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when alone in a vehicle.
Officials warn that you should never leave a child alone in a car, even if you think you will only be gone for a minute. Also, make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids can’t get inside on their own.
Experts say parents can also keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. You can also place your phone, briefcase or purse in the back seat while driving with a child.
If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.