And for good reason. From 1998 to 2020, 883 children died from heatstroke in hot cars according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Similar statistics are unavailable for pets.
“People often think that something like this could never happen to them,” Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA-The Auto Club Group, said in a press release. “However, many heatstroke deaths are accidents, where a parent or caregiver forgets the child is in the back seat.”
AAA-The Auto Club Group suggest these safety tips —
— Don’t leave them alone, not even for a minute: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle — even if the windows are open or the air conditioning is running.
— Vehicles aren’t play areas: Don’t let children play in an unattended vehicle.
— Put keys out of sight: Always lock your vehicle — even in driveways and garages — and keep keys out of children’s reach.
— Make it a habit: Before locking your vehicle, check the front and back seat.
— Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat — when the child is with you, move it to the front seat as a reminder that your child is in the back.
— Set an alarm: Consider programming an alarm on your phone that will go off to remind you to check your vehicle.
— Caregiver assistance: If you normally drop your child off at a babysitter or daycare, ask the caregiver to call you if your child doesn’t show up as expected.
— Add a reminder: Put your purse/wallet or cell phone in the back seat, as another reason to look in the back seat before leaving the vehicle.
The soaring temperatures in a vehicle can also place your pets at risk. Never leave an animal in a parked car, even if the windows are partially open. Even on pleasant days, the temperature inside a car can soar to well over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, placing your pet at risk for heatstroke and possibly death.
If a child or pet are seen alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.
Be smart and take basic precautions. Don’t put yourself, your children or your pets at risk.