#childsafety | Children’s services ‘Beat the heat, check the back seat’

Tuesday’s ALERT DAY signals extreme heat in the area. Lucas County Children’s Services advises parents to remain aware of the dangers hot cars present to children.

LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — Temperatures today will reach the upper 90s and the heat index will make it feel over 100 degrees.

But inside of a car, it can feel even hotter. That confined space can heat up by 20 more degrees than the outside temperature in 10 minutes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. Major organs can start to shut down and heatstroke can set in at 104 degrees. And when it reaches 107 degrees, the effects can be fatal.

It only takes a few minutes before temperatures begin to climb to dangerous levels when a car is turned off and the windows are rolled up, which can turn deadly for kids, Kevin Milliken, a public information specialist with Lucas County Children’s Services, said. 

All parents, guardians and everyone in the care of a child or pet are advised to never leave them inside of a car during heatwaves and other periods of extreme heat.

It doesn’t matter if it’s running, parked in the shade or if a window is cracked, Milliken said.

Despite the “Beat the heat, check the back seat” campaign, he said 53 children died due to being left inside hot cars in both 2018 and 2019.

“That’s every nine days during the summer,” he said.

Milliken said parents forget children in hot cars more often than most people think.

“Well-meaning people have forgotten and it’s ended in tragedy,” he said.

Children’s services recommends some tips to parents and anyone who sees a child possibly left inside a hot car:

  • Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Put something you know you’ll need – a purse, briefcase or cell phone – in the back seat so you’ll have to check for it before leaving your car.
  • NEVER leave sleeping infants in the car. Waking a baby is a small price to pay.
  • Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat. The metal or dark plastic can easily burn children’s tender skin.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down. A child could accidentally put the car into gear, hurting themselves or others.
  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars. They could get locked in the trunk or hit by an unexpectedly moving vehicle.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks – even at home – and keep keys out of children’s reach.

For more information on how to keep kids safe in the heat, visit Lucas County Children’s Services’ website.

RELATED: ALERT DAY | Three things to know for Tuesday as temps could reach 100 in Toledo

RELATED: How to protect your pets in the heat

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