AAA warns parents to protect against dangers of hot vehicles
Editorial by AAA of Western and Central New York
Every year, dozens of children die due to heatstroke from being left in a hot car for too long. Nineteen children have already passed away this year; 723 since 1998 (according to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians). While an overwhelming majority of these deaths were accidental, they were preventable.
It's a common misconception that tragedies like this only occur when the weather is incredibly warm - temperatures inside of a car, even on a moderately sunny day, can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.
On a 72-degree day, the temperature in a car could become deadly within a matter of minutes. Children are particularly at risk of suffering from heatstroke due to the fact their bodies heat up five times faster than adults.
AAA urges parents and caregivers to follow these simple tips to make sure no child is left in a vehicle this summer:
- Never leave a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, even if the windows are tinted or down. The same recommendation applies to pets and the elderly.
- Keep doors locked and windows closed at all times, even when the vehicle is in a garage or on a driveway. Make sure keys are safely out of reach.
- Make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Be certain no one is inadvertently left behind.
- When you first place a child in a car seat in the back seat of a car, also place your cell phone, purse or important belongings back there to serve as visual reminders that a child is in the back seat as you exit the vehicle.
- If you see a child alone in a parked car, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
Pets and heat
When it comes to pets and heat, it's best to leave them at home while running errands on hot days. Dogs can't sweat like humans, causing them to overheat much faster. Rolling down the window does very little to keep them comfortable.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com