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toddlerCarSeatSummer is upon us which means rising temperatures, and long days spent at the beach or pool with the kids. But during this season of free time and relaxation, it is crucial to remember that safety is always our top priority – especially when it comes to children. Summer means swimming, prolonged sun exposure and other seasonal activities that have the potential of harming children if we are not cautious.

Every day, children are left unattended in or around vehicles – a danger most people greatly underestimate. That danger is compounded during the summer months as temperatures rise to sweltering levels.

According to kidsandcars.org, on average 37 children die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles every year. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car and the end result can be serious injury or even death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that when temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172 degrees.

Heatstroke can occur even with outside temperatures as low as the 60s. With external temps in the 60s the interior of a car can heat up above 110 degrees. A child can die of heatstroke once body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

The following are simple tips designed to prevent these preventable heat stroke tragedies.

  • Never leave children alone in or around cars – not even for a minute.
  • Look Before You Lock. Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle.  Make sure no child has been left behind.
  • Create a reminder to check the back seat.
    • Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every timeyou park.
    • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycaredrop-off. Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts. If your child will not be attending daycare as scheduled, it is the parents’ responsibility to call and inform the childcare provider. If your child does not show up as scheduled, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages.  Ask home visitors, childcare care providers and neighbors to do the same.
  • Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
  • If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child is hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
  • Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.
  • Use drive‐thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.