7 kids die in hot cars, group offers tips to avoid heat stroke

It was hot enough inside this SUV parked out in the sun that it broke this thermometer.   (Marschka)
It was hot enough inside this SUV parked out in the sun that it broke this thermometer. (Marschka)

With the temperature expected to top 90 degrees today in Lancaster County, it’s a good time to remind parents to take steps to prevent children from being left in hot cars.
Two toddlers died in hot cars on Father’s Day in South Carolina and California, a national child safety organization reported.
Seven children have died from heat stroke in cars across the nation so far this year, the nonprofit KidsAndCars.org reported Monday. Those incidents occurred in Pomona, California, Columbia, South Carolina, Spirit Lake, Idaho, Baton Rouge, Louisianna, Hiland Park, Florida, Lake City, Florida, and Phoenix, Arizona.
More than 700 children have died inside hot cars in the last 20 years, according to KidsAndCars.org.
Below are some simple tips parents and caregivers can follow to prevent heat stroke tragedies:
• Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
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 cellphone, handbag, employee ID or brief case in the back seat so you have to open the back door to retrieve it.
• Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat for a reminder.
• Create a strict policy with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off. If your child will not be attending as scheduled, the parent must call and tell the childcare provider. If your child does not show up as scheduled and the childcare provider has not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider should pledge to contact you immediately.
• Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child 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 passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area, even if they are locked.
• If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately. If the child seems 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.
• Use drive-thru services at restaurants, banks, pharmacies and dry cleaners. Pay for gas at the pump.
Further details about ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles are at www.KidsAndCars.org.
The Humane Society of the United States on its website reminds people not to leave their furry, four-pawed children in hot cars, either, even with the car and the air-conditioner running. Cats and dogs could suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30 minutes, according to the Humane Society.

Source: Lancaster Online