LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With temperatures nearing the triple digits, the Department of Human Services is warning parents of the dangers of leaving kids in a hot car.
On average, 38 children die from vehicular heatstroke a year in the U.S. DHS Division of Childcare and Early Childhood Education Director, Tonya Williams said it can happen to anyone. Babies fall asleep, get quiet and parents get busy or distracted.
Williams said some cars have safety features that can keep people from forgetting a child in the car. If you don’t have that, she suggests putting something back there like a phone or purse you need to get out when you do.
“I mean the oppression of this heat and humidity is so much that just standing out is a lot and then you think about being in a car you know there’s just no air circulating so it can get very dangerous for young children in a matter of seconds,” Williams said.
Sometimes it’s not even leaving a child in the car, but them figuring out how to get in the car while a parent isn’t looking. For that, Williams suggests always locking your car to keep children from getting in it.
Williams also has tips for people who might come across a child in a hot car while running errands. She said if you see a child alone in a car at the grocery store or any other parking lot, immediately call 911. If you have another person with you, one of you go into the store and try to find the parent, while the other stays with the child to make sure they are breathing. Williams said it could even come down to breaking a window, but first responders will walk you through that.
“I don’t want to read something that happened after the fact,” Williams said. “I don’t want to be one of those individuals that potentially had some responsibility.”
For parents, she said it’s important to just take your children inside with you even if you’re only going in for a minute. Williams said children’s body temperatures can not regulate so it takes just seconds for kids to have serious health issues if left in a hot car.