This is a difficult subject to even think about, but a very important one to pass on to our readers. We are getting into the hottest time of the year, and so far, eighteen children have died of hyperthermia, eight of them since June 13th. Hyperthermia is a rapid and often fatal rise in body temperature. These young victims were left in cars. We read about a parent or family member that simply forgot about the little passenger in the back seat. We also read about children that climbed into unlocked cars in the driveway to play and then couldn’t get out, only to later be found dead. Keep your parked car locked at all times.
July is known as the most deadly month for children to be trapped in cars. Their respiratory and circulatory systems can’t handle heat the same as adults. Hyperthermia is the third-leading cause of death in non-traffic related incidents involving children and vehicles. It takes only 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to spike 19 degrees, and then can go up to 29 degrees in 20 minutes. On a 78° day, the temperature inside a car can climb to 97° in just ten minutes.
Organizations such as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, KidsandCars.org, and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are among several others that warn parents not to leave their kids or animals unattended in or near vehicles. PETA and KidsandCars urges “the most vulnerable beings among us– children and animals, need and deserve our protection. Never leave a child or animal in a parked car on hot or even warm days. Always leave dogs and cats at home, especially during a heat wave.”
It’s hard to understand how anyone can become so distracted that they would forget about a child in the back seat of their vehicle. But it happens, and happens often. It is suggested by the experts that drivers should place a purse, briefcase, or cell phone near the child’s seat as a reminder to retrieve the child. Don’t become so overwhelmed by everyday pressures that you forget the most important person in the world, your child.
Get involved. If you see a child or animal that has been left in a car, call 911.
You may save a life.