Every time summer comes around, we find the same tragedies hitting the news headlines with regularity: children dying of heat stroke after being left in hot cars. As of this writing, there have already been 16 deaths of children in 2014; last year saw 44. How can we prevent these needless deaths? Let's all spread awareness of the extreme danger of leaving a child in a hot vehicle (and the same can be said for pets).
First off, it's important to realize how quickly the interior of a vehicle will heat up - and even over longer periods in mild weather, being trapped in a car can be fatal. Let's say it's a constant temperature of 90 degrees outside: in just 10 minutes, the inside of the car will reach 109 degrees, and in only 20 minutes, it's already 119 degrees in there. Imagine that you, an adult, have been left in that car and how physically unbearable the conditions would be, to the point of heat stroke and death. With a child, the grave nature of the situation is only compounded, since children's bodies heat up at a rate three to five times faster than those of adults.
Never leave a child alone in a car, and if you're occasionally forgetful, remind yourself to check the back seat. Also, if you see a child left alone in a car, call police or emergency services. It's critical we boost everyone's recognition of the deadly threat a car on a hot day can pose to anyone left inside, so spread the word to family and friends. It's worth it to keep the kids in our community safe.