Before I became a Dad, I used to hear stories about kids being left in hot cars and I would think that only idiots could do that. However, once I became a Dad, I got scared that it could happen to me. I used to take my daughter Turner to pre-school and half the time she would fall asleep during our twenty-five minute drive. When she was asleep, my mind would eventually start thinking about work, which usually means grabbing my phone (not to text, just to talk). My huge fear was that I would forget to take her to pre-school and instead drive to work and leave her in the car. Believe me, I was absolutely paranoid of doing so.
A heatstroke occurs when the body temperature beings to exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke, along with heat exhaustion and heat cramps, can directly contribute to a child’s death after being left in a hot car for several minutes.
With the recent toddler deaths in North Texas, several suggestions have been created to help parents remember that their kids are on board. Here is a compilation of these suggestions.
- First and foremost, always put your cell phone, purse, or briefcase, and anything else you'll need that day, on the floor of the backseat. When you retrieve it at the end of the ride, you'll notice your child.
- Seat your younger (or quieter) child behind the front passenger seat, where he's most likely to catch your eye.
- Keep a teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. When you put your child in the seat, move the animal to the front passenger seat, to remind you that your baby's on board.
- Ask your child's baby sitter or day care provider to always phone you promptly if your child isn't dropped off as scheduled.
- Make a habit of always opening the back door of your car after you park, to check that there aren’t any kids back there.
- Never assume someone else, such as a spouse or an older child, has taken a young kid out of their seat. Such miscommunication has led to more than a few hot-car deaths.
- Invest in a device to help you remember small passengers. The Driver’s Little Helper monitor informs you of the backseat’s temperature, alerts you when your child is out of their seat, and can be used with any car seat ($79.99). The ChildMinder System sounds an alarm if you walk away and leave your child in the seat ($55.99).
- Put visual cues in your office and home. Static-cling decals reminding you to check the car seat are available at Emmasinspirations.com and Kidsandcars.org.
- Increase your alertness during holiday seasons, due to changes in daily schedules and the faster lifestyles that holidays can bring.
Here are a several tips to follow if you find a child in a hot car:
- Contact the police! The faster the child is taken to safety, the lower the chances are for the child to have injuries.
- Hydration: providing the child with water will alleviate any heat exhaustion pain and will help regulate their body temperature.
- Remove the child from the heat. The sooner the child is removed from the car and is taken to a shaded area and treated, the sooner their temperature can be regulated.
By following these tips you will greatly reduce the risk of accidently leaving your child in the car. If you have any questions about child safety, call the Anderson Law Firm today. Mark A. Anderson is a board certified personal injury attorney who would love to help and will be willing to listen to your case. The Anderson Law Firm can be reached in Fort Worth at 817-717-4731, in Dallas at 214-327-8000, or you can fill out our contact form online for a free consultation.