Though the carefree days of summer are upon us, we cannot be careless about safety. According to the National Safety Council, hot car deaths have already started to rise. Considering July and August are generally the months with more hot car fatalities, the Council reports that as of June 22, 2016, 16 young children have died from heatstroke after being left or trapped in vehicles. During the same time period last year, that number was eight. Children overheat four times faster than adults, and a children are i likely to die when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees, which can happen in minutes. Even in 70-degree weather a vehicle can reach life-threatening temperatures quickly since the heat level inside a vehicle can increase 3.2 degrees every five minutes.
Florida is one of 20 states that has laws concerning leaving a child unattended in a car. Infractions range from misdemeanors to felonies if great bodily harm is caused (Florida Statutes 316.6135). However, no law can replace the life of a loved one.
Most hot car deaths are the result of a “forgotten child” left in a car seat. Fortunately, there is technology that can alert the driver. Here are some tips parents for keeping your children safe:
- Keep a stuffed animal in the child’s seat, then move it to the front seat after you strap your child in as a visual reminder
- If your daily routine changes, make sure your child has arrived at the destination safely
- Ask daycare providers know to call parents or relatives if the child does not arrive
- Never leave a child alone in a car; use drive-through services and pay at the pump so you won’t be tempted to leave your child “just for a moment”
- If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately
Who doesn’t appreciate a dip in a pool, lake or the ocean in the “dog days” of summer? As refreshing and fun as it may be, without taking proper safety precautions, no one who cannot swim should be in or near water. Drowning is a leading cause of death in children under the age of six, but people of any age can be at risk. Following these safety tips can help your family stay safe around the water:
Keep watch of your children while bathing, swimming or around water
- Gather everything needed (towel, bath toys, sunscreen) before kids enter the water; if you must leave the area, take the children with you
- Do not allow play or swim in canals, retention ponds or streams
- Use snug-fitting life jackets instead of “floaties,” and be sure to wear a life jacket when boating
- Always swim with a buddy
- Never swim if you have been drinking alcohol or have taken certain medications
- Find age appropriate swimming lessons for the family at a local YMCA or public park
- Learn first aid and CPR
No matter how you decide to spend your summer, road trip or “staycation,” keep safety first.
National Safety Council
Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles