Parents and caregivers often think that it has to be sunny and 90-100 degrees for the inside of a car to be too hot, but that’s not true. Even on cloudy days in just 20 minutes the temperature inside the car increases by about 30 degrees. So if it’s cloudy and 80 degrees, the inside of the car can reach 110 degrees in just 20 minutes, hot enough to kill a child.
What puts children at such risk? A child’s body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. When a child’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees the internal organs start shutting down. This leads to confusion and weakness and often results in brain damage. As their temperature continues to rise, death occurs around 107 degrees.
How can you prevent this tragedy from happening? NEVER leave your child alone in the car, not even for a minute!
- Place your purse, cell phone, briefcase or whatever you need in the back seat by the child. This forces the parent/caregiver to open the back door and see the child.
- Set a reminder or alarm on your cell phone and/or computer to be sure you dropped your child off at daycare.
- Develop a plan with your daycare provider so that they will call you if your child is not dropped off by the expected time.
- Always keep your car doors and trunk locked! Never allow children to play in or around cars. Cars are not playgrounds!
Do you think this would never happen to your child? Since 1988, 494 children have died, while unattended in cars, due to heat stroke or hyperthermia. On average we see 38 deaths per year, but last year (2010) nationwide there were 49 deaths, with 13 of these being in Texas. Texas leads the nation in hyperthermia deaths since 1988 with 71 as compared to Florida with 56 and California at 36.
If you see a child left in a car immediately call 911! It is against Texas Law to leave a child unattended in a car: Texas Penal Code – Chapter 22.10