What to do if you see a child in a hot car

An average of 37 children are killed in hot car deaths each year.

As of 2017, 25 children have died including seven in Texas. The state leads in all car deaths around the nation.

Nevada, Idaho, Utah Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Ohio have all seen hot car deaths this year. 

According to NoHeatstroke.org, since 1998, more than half of the deaths were from the child being forgotten by their caregiver. Other reasons for death include, leaving the child playing unattended inside the vehicle, adults intentionally leaving them in the car, or unknown circumstances.

A cars temperature can rise over 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Even if the temperature of a car is 60 degrees, the temperature inside the car can reach 110 degree, according to Safercar.gov.

A child dies when their temperature reaches 107 degrees.

In June 2017, a group of U.S. representatives introduced the Hot Cars Act. In some states, it is legal to break into a car to save a child, but a person could face civil action.

The act would require cars be equipped with visual and audio alarms to remind drivers to check the back seat once a car has been turned off.

So, what do you do if you see a child in a hot car?

If the child is not responsive or in distress:

  • Call 911
  • Get the child out of the car
  • Spray the child with cool water (not in an ice bath)

If the child is responsive:

  • Have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them.

Tips to avoid child heatstroke:

  • Check the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away
  • Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty. Move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
  • If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely. 

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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