According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 10 days, one child dies from being left alone in a hot car.
On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. A child dies when his or her temperature reaches 107 degrees, for an adult, it takes 110 degrees.
“Your body is like a radiator,” said Julius Faulkner with the Sheriff’s Department. “When the radiator heats up, the engine shuts down – same way with your body.”
According to national reports, there have been 19 child deaths from heatstroke, this year. In August 2013, a 4-month-old baby boy from El Cajon passed away when his parents forgot him in the car.
Under Kaitlyn’s Law, it is illegal to leave a child under the age of six alone in a car anywhere in California.
Safety tips include:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat;
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach;
- Community members who see a child alone in a vehicle should immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.