Here are some facts: the earth is revolving around the sun. This means that summer, is basically here. When it’s summer, things tend to warm up. They warm up a lot, in fact, and especially in parked cars. And so that means it’s time for the annual warning against leaving your kids in the car.
In 2011 33 children died from heat stroke after being left in a car too long, joining the 49 children that died from heat stroke in 2010. All these deaths were tragic, painful, and completely preventable.
Understandably, the NHTSA wants to prevent this. It is launching a radio and online campaign called “Where’s baby? Look before you lock.” And likewise, the NHTSA wants parents to make it a habit to look in the front seat, then the back, before locking the car. Caregivers should be notified if the child goes missing—which seems like a good rule of thumb in general anyway. But importantly, don’t let children play around in cars and get lost—they’re cars, not jungle gyms.
The NHTSA had this to say, as well: “do things that serve as a reminder a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat.”
Some symptoms of heat stroke include red, dry skin, increased heartbeat, headaches, dizziness and nausea. If it doesn’t cause death, it could cause permanent brain damage, blindness, and hearing loss. A car can heat up to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit even in 10 minutes—more than fatal for a child, whose tiny bodies succumb to heat stroke more easily than grown-ups.
Don’t leave your kids in a car. Take them inside Starbucks when you get your Frappucino. Sure, maybe your kid will cry and throw things, spawning a self-inflated Twitter rant from some hipster. It’s still better than losing a child to heat stroke.