Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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July 8, 2014

Hot cars and children don't mix

With summer in full swing and people traveling to summer destinations, citizens are reminded to take extra caution as it relates to small children and hot cars, according to a Nixle message from the Indiana State Police.

Tragically each year, particularly during the summer months, there are reports of child deaths as a result of being left in hot cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures of 131-170 degrees Fahrenheit when outside temperatures are 80-100 degrees.

Even outside temperatures in the 60’s can cause internal car temperatures to rise well above 110. Even with the window rolled down two inches, the interior temperature of the car can rise to well over 100 degrees in as little as 15 minutes.

According to a report by Jan Null, CCM of the Department of Earth & Climate Sciences, San Francisco State University, as of June 25, 13 children in the U.S. have died this year as a result of heatstroke after being left in a hot car, and a total of 44 children died in 2013. From 1998 to the present, 619 children have died as a result of heatstroke after being left in cars.

These unfortunate tragedies can be easily avoided by following these tips:

• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, not even for a minute;

• If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911;

• Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies;

• Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, always check the pool first and then the car, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area;

• Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat, place the animal in the front with the driver or place our purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car;

• Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car; and

• Have a plan that your child care provider will call you if your child does not show up.

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