As a photographer of babies and children I see a lot of children and as a mother I know how we all love our children and want to keep them safe. I feel I am a very safe person and mother and so it takes me by surprise when I read articles that make me realize how little I know. Recently I read about children left in hot cars in the summer for which there are always deaths each year. Unfortunately I understand too well being overwhelmed, busy and tired, and I understand the mistakes that sometimes lead to these deaths, and can’t imagine the pain of these parents. Mistakes from tiredness I understood but what I didn’t know was how fast it can get hot in a car. Many children can suffer very quickly from heat stroke left in a car for just a few minutes while a parent runs an errand. Even with a car window partially down, a parked car can reach 125 degrees in a few minutes – the window down does not prevent this. And a child’s temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. Leaving a child in a car for even a minute is not an option!
And here are a few tips I learnt from the Ridgefield PATCH for a safe fun summer for you and your child:
- Never ever leave your child alone in a car not even for a minute.
- Put your purse or wallet in the backseat – you won’t leave the car for long without it.
- Make a habit to open the back door of your vehicle EVERY time you park – checking too much is a great habit to ensure tiredness doesn’t leave you forgetful.
- Place your child’s seat in the middle of the car – it’s easier to see and I think it is the safest place in case of an accident.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the car seat. If the child is in the seat the animal moves to the front seat – it’s a visual reminder that the child is in his/her seat in the back.
- Let a daycare know you will ALWAYS call if you are not bringing your child in. If you don’t call, have them call you.
- Always lock your vehicle when you are at home and not in it. This ensures children can’t climb into your car without your knowledge.
- When a child is missing check your car and trunk first.
- Call 911 immediately if you see a child in a car alone.
- Use drive through services as much as possible. These services enable you to stay in the car with your child.
- Use a debit or credit card when pumping gas. Again, you are staying close to your child.
- Discuss the issue of hot-car safety with everyone who drives your child. Spouse, partner, grandparents, relatives, babysitters.
Have a happy happy summer!