Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia, a serious and potentially fatal condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle.
NEVER leave your child or pet alone in a car! Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults within minutes. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate.
Children are especially vulnerable to hyperthermia; their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.
Here are some important tips to remember:
Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Put something you know you'll need – a purse, briefcase or cell phone – in the back seat so you'll have to check for it before leaving your car.
NEVER leave sleeping infants in the car. Waking baby is a small price to pay.
Make sure your child's safety seat and safety belt buckles aren't too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat. The metal or dark plastic can easily burn children's tender skin.
Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down. A child could accidentally put the car into gear, hurting themselves or others.
Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars. They could get locked in the trunk or hit by an unexpectedly moving vehicle.
Always lock car doors and trunks – even at home – and keep keys out of children's reach.