Did you know that a vehicle can quickly become a death trap even on a mild and sunny day? Overexposure to the inside of a hot car can cause heat stroke. It is a deadly condition that can kill your child or your pet. Even a 72* day can cause life threatening heat stroke in children. A child's body can heat up five times faster than an adult. The temperature inside a car can rise 20* in just 10 minutes. Heat stroke occurs when the body can't cool itself down fast enough and the core body temperature rises to dangerous levels. While it sounds like common sense, ALWAYS take your child with you when you leave your vehicle.
For pets, days above 90* can be extremely dangerous. When people overheat, we sweat to cool down. Our four-legged friends must pant to rid themselves of excess heat. While this is an efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in areas of extreme temperatures, humidity or in close quarters. If your pet can't come with you when you get out of the car, leave them at home. Prevention is the best way to prevent an accident.
Just last week there was a Long Island mother locked her two sons ages 1 and 5 in a parked car to go shopping during the heat wave. The woman allegedly abandoned her boys in the Commack Meat Farms parking lot as temperatures soared into the upper 80's. Sadly, eight children have died of heat stroke after being left in vehicles in United States this Spring.
Remember the following "Look Before You Lock" BE SAFE tips from KidsAndCars.org:
Back seat - Put something in the back seat so you have to open the back door when leaving the vehicle - cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.
Every child should be correctly restrained in the back seat.
Stuffed animal - Move it from the car seat to the front seat to remind you when your baby is in the back seat.
Ask your babysitter or childcare provider to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn't arrived on time.
Focus on driving - Avoid cell phone calls and texting while driving.
Every time you park your vehicle open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind.