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Monday, August 27, 2012

Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat

Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car
Although the weather is becoming cooler, parents need to stay vigilant about the dangers of leaving children alone in cars. This year alone there have been at least 5 separate instances of fatalities in Tennessee.
Temperatures inside vehicles can rapidly climb over those of the outside environment. This can cause a potentially fatal environment inside a vehicle even when outside temperatures are as low as 70 degrees. Never leave an unattended child in a vehicle even with the vehicle’s air conditioning on, as the vehicle may stall or malfunction. Additionally, multiple responses have been required by the fire department due to children being given key fobs to play with while the parents stood outside.
Although many parents think it is unimaginable that they could forget their child in a car, statistics show otherwise. Of US fatalities since 1998, one study reports that 52% were categorized as ‘child "forgotten" by caregiver’ (253 Children), 30% were ‘child playing in unattended vehicle’, 17% of children were ‘intentionally left in vehicle by adult’ (86), and in 1% of cases circumstances were unknown (5). This information and much more can be found here: .
To help avoid a potentially fatal situation, parents may consider placing their purse or computer bag by the child’s seat whenever they enter their vehicle to ensure that they will always glance in the backseat before leaving. If your child attends daycare regularly, arrangements should be made to contact you on your cell phone if your child does not show up at the facility. Often the parents of children that die are not uncaring, just simply new parents deprived of sleep and/or parents that are starting a new routine. Be especially alert anytime your normal pattern is altered; for example if one parent typically drops the child off but is unable to do to so because of an early morning meeting, setting a cell phone alarm for the other caregiver with a reminder to drop the child off may be a lifesaver.
If you see a child in a car that is unattended, please call 911. Minutes can make the difference between life and death.