By Bev Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers
In 2015, there were 24 child heatstroke deaths nationwide. Each of these children died because they were left in a hot vehicle and suffered heatstroke. What makes this statistic so sad is that these deaths were entirely preventable.
I applaud the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for working to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. Heatstroke is the number one killer of children, outside of car crashes. As the weather gets warmer, the dangers to children increase, and all of us have to remain vigilant.
Please remember that you should never leave a child in a vehicle unattended. Always look in the backseat of your car every time you leave it, and always lock your car and put your keys out of reach from children.
Life is hectic, routines change, and many of us become forgetful. But one thing we can’t afford to be is distracted with our children. Come up with some ways to remind yourself that your child is in the car, such as placing a briefcase, purse, or cell phone in the back seat next to your child’s car seat. That way, you’ll always check the back before you leave your car. Child care centers in Wisconsin are mandated to call if children do not show up on their schedule days and times, but there are other steps you can take. Make it a habit to call your spouse after you’ve dropped off your child to make sure you didn’t forget. Set a reminder on your cell phone, or download a baby app that includes reminders.
If as a bystander you see a child in a locked car, call 911 immediately and do whatever you can to get the child out of the car. Stay with the child until help arrives.
For more information, I encourage you to visit www.safercar.gov/heatstroke, because children and hot cars are a deadly combination.