In May of 2016, two children died in hot cars in Mississippi, within days of each other. While this is a tragic story, it isn’t a rare one.
According to Kidsandcars.org director Amber Andreason, an average of 37 children die each year in a hot car.
Andreason said oftentimes, parents go into an autopilot mode and simply forget the child in the car, or they believe that a few minutes in the car wouldn’t hurt the child.
“The inside of a vehicle acts like a greenhouse, which makes it very dangerous,” said Andreason. “It happens very quickly. In fact, two-thirds of the increase in temperature happen in the first ten minutes of the car being parked and turned off.”
Andreason added that even with outdoor temperatures in the 60s, the inside of the car can heat up to over 100 degrees within minutes.
Children naturally cannot handle heat as well as adults, adding more danger to the situation.
“Combine the greenhouse effect with the fact that a child’s body temperature rises three times as fast as an adult, then you’ve got a real recipe for disaster,” said Andreason.
There are a few safety tips KidsandCars.org offers to make sure your child is kept safe in the car.
“Always look before you lock,” said Andreason. “You want to do something that reminds you to check that backseat every time you park your vehicle.”
Andreason said the organization recommends taking off a shoe and placing it in the backseat, or your cell phone or a needed item so you don’t forget your baby.
For more safety tips, visit KidsandCars.org.