Summer Safety Tips
With summer reaching some of its peak heat temperatures, it can be easy for safety to slip the mind. Things such as pool safety, leaving children and pets in cars, heat stroke, and other heat-related tragedies are occurring throughout the area. Places like Florida, Texas and Arizona are experiencing extreme temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. Whether you’re out of routine, haven’t crossed it off your ‘To Do’ list or simply just didn’t know or weren’t concerned about it, there are plenty of ways to protect you and others from these kinds of tragic experiences.
With states in the southern [both southwest and southeast] regions of the country reaching record-breaking heat temperatures, there has been an increase of children dying from being left in cars for long periods of time. A woman in Florida left her daughter in the car while she taught elementary school all day. Her daughter was pronounced dead on the scene. In April, a 2-year-old died when left in a car in Phoenix, Arizona. The father bought a bottle of gin, drank it on the way home and fell asleep inside his house. The boy’s mother found the child unconscious in the backseat of the car a couple of hours later. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.
KidsAndCars.org reported “seven children have died from heat stroke in cars across the nation so far this year.” The incidents occurred in Pomona (CA), Columbia (SC), Spirit Lake (ID), Baton Rouge (LA), Hiland Park (FL), Lake City (FL), and Phoenix (AZ). They also stated “More than 700 children have died inside hot cars in the last 20 years.”
Dawn Peabody, a mother of six, lost her daughter, Maya, who died from heat stroke on October 18, 2008, after being forgotten in a hot car. Peabody’s husband had the 2 1/2-year-old girl with him that day, something she said was out of their normal routine. Since the day she lost her daughter, she has been advocating so that other parents don’t experience the same.
“For parents to think it can’t happen to them, they’re the ones who are in danger. Even if I know for a fact I don’t have the kids with me I still open up the van door and check,” she said.
Maya is among 28 children who have died in Arizona since 1998, after being left in a car. Arizona is ranked third in the US for vehicular heatstroke fatalities. Reports show that on average—nationwide—there are 38 preventable deaths per year, with more than half occurring unintentionally while the child is in the care of a parent.
Fast Facts About Cars & Heat
In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees. With temperatures in the 60s, your car can heat up to well above 110 degrees.
Cracking a window proves essentially ineffective in decreasing temperature.
A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. A child dies when his or her temperature reaches 107.
Heatstroke can happen when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.
Heatstroke fatalities have occurred even in vehicles parked in shaded areas and when the air temperature was 80 degrees or less.
On an 80 degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.
Car Safety During Summer
Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle.
Create a reminder to check the back seat. Perhaps placing something in the backseat such as a purse, cellphone or wallet—something you need in your everyday routine, something you can’t leave the car without.
Create a strict policy with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off. For example, if your child isn’t dropped off by a certain time to have a check-up call within an allotted time frame.
Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.