We all hear stories and warnings of the dangers of leaving an animal in a vehicle on a sweltering day. But, please don’t dismiss the fact that it is just as dangerous(if not more so) to leave children unattended in a vehicle – regardless of the weather conditions.
It is also against the law. Nineteen states have made it illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle. The State of New Jersey doesn’t have a specific law in place … yet. But, there are proposed laws to make this dangerous action illegal.
* KidsAndCars.org (“Look Before You Lock” campaign)
While the guidelines to the laws differ, it is still an issue because of the severity of the effects.
Not only is the action of leaving your child alone in a vehicle dangerous and possibly illegal, the factors the summer season brings to the equation can make this a deadly mistake. “On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.”
Leaving a child alone in a vehicle, even if for a moment, while you run into a store, can prove deadly.
The temperature inside a car can get dangerously hot, even in moderate weather with the windows slightly down. Kids can suffer from heat stroke causing serious injuries and sometimes death.
Simply leaving the air conditioner on doesn’t make your child safe. A child could put the car in drive, get caught in a closing power window or be abducted.
Here are some tips to keep kids safe around cars:
- Never leave a child unattended in a car. Not even for a minute.
- Always lock your car and secure the keys so that your kids can’t get to them.
- Warn your children about playing in and around cars.
- Install a trunk release mechanism so that kids can’t get trapped inside the trunk.
- Get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about unloading the groceries and items out of the car.
Please, whether it’s inconvenient or just human error, follow the Kids and Cars campaign and “Look Before You Lock.” Bring your children into the store with you even if you think you’ll only be a minute. Their health is more important than saving time.
When my youngest son was two, I got out of my vehicle, turned to open the other door to get him out and realized that I had locked the doors behind me. Pure panic set in and thankfully the local police and fire departments responded in record time to assist me in getting him safely out of the vehicle. It was 90+ degrees that day. Please “Look Before You Lock,” and under no circumstances, leave a child in a vehicle by choice.
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