Preventing tragic heatstroke in hot cars

Sun beats down on a car windshield (file).
Sun beats down on a car windshield (file).

WTNH– During this summer season it’s important to know how to avoid a tragic heatstroke due to a hot car.  Safercar.gov offers many tips for avoiding tragedy by forgetting your child in a hot car.

The following are prevention tips:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car.
  • Don’t let your kids play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
  • Keep a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it’s empty. Move the teddy bear to the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a visual reminder.
  • If you are dropping your children off at childcare, but normally your spouse or partner drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure they were not left in the car.
  • Become vigilant about looking in the vehicle before locking the door. Always look front and back before walking away — always!

Also if you witness a child in a locked parked car, it’s essential to do something about it. Safercar.gov also offer tips for bystanders:

If you see a young child locked in a parked car for more than 5 minutes:

  •  First make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  •  If the child appears okay, you should attempt to locate the parents; or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
  •  If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive and appears in great distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child, even if that means breaking a window.
  • If the child is in distress due to heat, get the child out of the car as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly (not in an ice bath) by spraying the child with cool water.

Remember if you are afraid to act that most states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved while helping a person in an emergency.

Any parent can forget a child in the back seat, but caregivers who aren’t used to transporting children are especially prone to forgetting them.

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