A video is circulating on Facebook that every mother needs to see. It plays out the real life danger of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. The sad thing is that many people simply do not think this could ever happen to them. They could not be more wrong, and the misconception could cost a child their life.
It is not always you that leaves your child unattended. Sometimes children gain access to the vehicle through an unlocked door. Other times the children are left by a caregiver or some even forgotten by a parent.
Some parents were "just running in for a minute."
Kids and Cars founder Janette Fennell said in a previous statement that, "The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them, that they are not capable of inadvertently leaving their child behind;This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents."
In 2013 a total of 43 children died in the U.S. due to being left in a vehicle, and since 1998 the number of deaths have totaled over 600.
Summer is close, but that is not the only dangerous time for these children. The numbers of vehicle heat stroke related deaths in children more than double in May. Even with that being said, it is always dangerous to leave a child alone in the car.
With hotter days coming it is estimated that one child every 10 days will die from heat stroke in the US alone from being left in a vehicle. Again, most of these are loving, protective and attentive parents that had to find out the hard way that they are only human. It is vital to take steps to protect your children from these "preventable deaths and injuries."
These things can happen in the store parking lot or in your own driveway.
Hyperthermia or heat stroke is according to the NHTSA is "the number one cause of death when children are left alone inside motor vehicles." Power windows is the second, because children could become trapped and hand themselves when meddling with them. So, just because your child knows how to roll the window down does not mean he or she is safe.
KidsAndCars.org is a very resourceful site, and they have been on a long journey to get legislation approved that will literally save thousands of children.
Only 15 minutes in a car in moderate heat can kill a child. Their organs can shut down, and brain or kidney damage is a real possibility. It is a horrific way to die.
Fennell says parents should place something in the back seat that will make you open that door every time you exit the vehicle even if your child is not in the car. Something like your purse or briefcase, or anything that will get you to "look before you lock."
Another thing Fennell says is that parents can place a bear in the child seat while it is not in use, and move that bear to the front to serve as a reminder that it is in use when the child is with you.
Remember, these types of accidents do not discriminate. The only way to avoid catastrophe is to take the steps to avoid it, and be prepared. KidSafe spokesman says that the, "biggest challenge we face is to help people understand that given the right set of circumstances, this can happen to anyone."
Kidsandcars.org say that, "the most common factors include; a change in one’s normal routine, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, distractions and hormone changes. When these factors combine, the ability for the brain to multi‐task is diminished."
While parents believe they could never possibly “forget their child in a vehicle” the truth is that is the most fatal mistake any parent can make. Vehicular heatstroke is misunderstood, and it is not limited to any certain "type" of parent.
What would it hurt to brush up on a few simple steps that will ensure your children's safety?
If you ever see any child alone in a car, do not hesitate to get involved. If the child is hot or if they seem sick, you have to get them out immediately. While this is not a situation that you should make dangerous to yourself, there is no time for pleasantries. They may not have a few minutes left, and some damage may already have been done. After removing the child call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
If the child does not seem to be hot or sick call 911 immediately. No child should be left alone in a vehicle for any amount of time ever! Again, this is not a time for pleasantries. We have to stand up for these children. One or two things are happening when you see a child left in a vehicle, a parent has forgotten them or they are with a neglectful adult that is putting them in danger be it a parent or a caregiver.
If someone seen your child alone in the sitters car would you want them to call the police? We have to take a stand against this epidemic and give these babies a chance, a voice.
Click here for more facts and statistics on children and vehicular related heatstroke.