Do not leave children in vehicles on warm, hot days

More than 4.6 Californians plan to travel more than 50 miles from home this Fourth of July weekend, according to AAA of Northern California. Of those, 3.7 million will drive to their destination. Whether you are planning to stay home or take a road trip in the family car, never leave children -- or pets -- in cars unattended, not even for one minute. It's the law. In 10 minutes, the temperature inside the cabin of a vehicle sitting in the hot sun can jump 20 degrees, reported the California Office of Traffic Safety. In half an hour, that temperature can rise more than 30 degrees. After an hour, the interior temperature will be 45 degrees hotter. “Even on a 60 degree day, a car’s internal temperature can skyrocket and reach well above 110 degrees in just a few minutes,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the state traffic safety agency. “It’s important that children are never left unattended in a vehicle for any amount of time, even with cracked windows, which do little to keep the car cool.” If the temperature is 85 degrees outside the care, the inside of that car can be 130 degrees. At 95 degrees outside the car, the interior will be 140 and on a 105 degree day, children and pets would be sitting in a vehicle that registers at 150 degrees. Making matters worse is that children’s body heat regulatory systems are less efficient than an adult’s, allowing them to overheat three to five times faster causing hyperthermia. Being left in a hot car can cause permanent brain injury, blindness and the loss of hearing, even death. Here are some tips to keep children safe around and in vehicles from the Office of Traffic Safety:
  • Don’t allow your child to play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that the vehicle is not a play area;
  • Always lock your car doors and do not give children access to keys or keyless entry devices;
  • If your child is missing, be sure to check all vehicles and trunks;
  • For parents of young children, place a needed item for your next stop, such as your cell phone or purse on the floor in front of your child’s safety seat. This will help remind you that your child is in the car when you retrieve the needed items;
  • Set a reminder or alarm on your cell phone that reminds you to drop off your child at school or day care, or have a loved one call to ensure that the drop-off occurred;
  • Ask day care providers to call if your child is ever late being dropped off;
  • Develop a routine before exiting your car; always look in the front and back of your vehicle before locking the doors;
  • If you see an unattended child in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
Learn more safety tips from the OTS via social media at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS or follow OTS on Twitter @OTS_CA. For information on all OTS efforts, visit www.ots.ca.gov.
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