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As the temperatures are ramping up for another “famously hot” summer, we’d like to remind all parents and caregivers to take precautions to make sure children are not left in a hot car, either accidentally or intentionally. According to the National Safety Council, on average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Infants and toddlers strapped into car seats are especially vulnerable. Though it seems impossible to some, each year, children in the US die because the person driving the car forgot they were in the back seat when they arrived at their destination.

What you can do to prevent hot car death or injury:

Keep cars locked when unattended

Children have died after becoming entrapped in unattended vehicles, especially ones with child safety locks. The child can enter the car from the outside, but is then unable to open the door to get back out again. Keeping vehicle doors locked when not in use can help prevent this situation.

Have a fuzzy car friend

Keep a stuffed toy in the child’s car seat. Once the child is buckled in, place the toy where you will notice it when leaving the vehicle.

Make the call

Parents: if your child is enrolled in child care, please ask your child care provider to call you if your child does not arrive to class on time.

Teachers: Make sure you have up to date contact information on the people who drop children off at your center every day and have a calling procedure in place when a child does not arrive in time.

Have a reminder

Place your phone, wallet, purse, or other needed items near your child’s car seat.

What to do if you see a child unattended in a vehicle

Call 9-1-1! If they are in distress, get them out of the car ASAP, even if you have to break a window. Cool the child rapidly by spraying them with cold water – a garden hose will do. Do NOT put them in ice – their little systems can’t handle the extreme change.

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