Be cautious when it comes to hot cars

Having a driver’s license and car comes with responsibilities, and driving can be dangerous if the driver is reckless, not paying attention, under the influence, or unaware of rules and laws that need to be always followed. No one wants to be involved in a car crash or minor accident, and as drivers, we often think of the worst-case scenarios happening when we are speeding down the interstate. But a car can be just as deadly when the engine isn’t running.

According to kidsandcars.org, heatstroke is the leading cause of death in vehicles (excluding crashes) for those 14 and younger. Heatstroke also harms and kills pets that are left in a hot vehicle.

While we may believe we are in control of our cars and would never make the mistake of forgetting a family member or pet, it is worth it to stop and think before slamming the door and hurrying into work or an appointment.

“Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area; it can easily become the scene of a tragedy,” states the website noheatstroke.org. “It is never OK to leave a child or pet in a parked car, not even for a minute.”

The website recommends each driver do the following as soon as they park a vehicle:
• Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
• Always lock the car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote-entry devices.
• Teach children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
• Teach that if they can’t get out of the rear doors, try the front doors; then honk the horn to get the attention of others if they still cannot get out of the car.
• Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat, place the animal in the front with the driver. Or place a purse, briefcase or cell phone in the back seat as a reminder that a child is in the car.
• Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
• Have a plan in place that a childcare provider will call if your child does not show up for school.
For more tips on how to avoid hot car dangers, visit https://www.noheatstroke.org/safety-recommendations.

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