The San Bernardino Police Department is reminding the public to be mindful of not leaving children in hot vehicles, as temperatures reach the triple digits this week. The inside of a vehicle is much warmer than it is outside, increasing the risk of heat stroke for children left inside for even short periods of time.
Outside of crashes, vehicular heatstroke is the leading cause of vehicle-related deaths among children. It is why the San Bernardino Police Department is reminding parents, babysitters and anyone who cares for children to avoid leaving them alone in a hot car.
Last year, 52 children were killed as a result of being left in a hot car, a 21% increase from 2017 and the highest number in more than 20 years. More than half of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused when a parent or caregiver forgets they are in the car.
The temperature inside of a car can rise nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and children are more prone to heatstroke because their body temperatures rise much faster than adults.
Whether your child is fussy and doesn’t want to leave the car or is sleeping, it is important that you take them with you, even in temperatures under 80 degrees, because the inside of a car can reach triple digits in half an hour.
To avoid tragedy and a lifetime of pain, the San Bernardino Police Department is encouraging parents and others who care for children to take extra precautions to make sure a child is not left in the back seat or gets into a hot car:
• Make it a habit to look before your leave and lock the car. Put a stuffed animal, purse, phone or wallet next to the car seat as a reminder.
• Always lock your car and keep the keys out of the reach of children. Teach your child that a car is not a play area.
If you see a child in a hot vehicle that appears to be in pain or unresponsive, call 911 immediately. Try to find the parents or notify businesses in the area to use a PA system to alert the car owner.