Pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH) kills dozens of children every year in the United States. These tragic deaths are all preventable. Regardless of how quick you think the errand will be, do not leave your children alone in the car. A child should not die because someone misjudged how long the line would be in a store.
Ways to prevent a child from getting heatstroke in your car:
- Never leave your child alone in the car.
- Do not leave your car unlocked. Some children have died from PVH because they were playing and sneaked into an unlocked vehicle.
- Call 911 every time you see a child alone in a car.
- If your child goes to daycare, set an audible alarm on your cell phone to double-check that you did not leave the child in the car. Also, set up a protocol that the daycare center will call you if they do not receive your child on time.
- Place an item that you must have for work in the back seat of the car, next to your child. Your phone, wallet, purse, briefcase, or one of your shoes are objects that you are unlikely to forget to grab before getting out of the car.
- Use high-tech devices like rear seat reminders and car seat “smart” chips to alert you if there is a child in the rear seat or that you should check the back seat of your car.
One of the best ways to protect your child in a car or truck is to make sure she only rides with safe drivers. Make and always follow family rules so that your child does not ride with a driver who is:
- Impaired by alcohol, prescriptions medication, or other drugs
- In the habit of texting, speeding, engaging in road rage, or any other type of unsafe, distracted driving.
- Young and inexperienced.
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