After a rainy cool spell, temperatures in the Bluegrass State are forecast to be in the high 80s this week. With the warmer weather, parents are being reminded of the danger of leaving children unattended in a vehicle.
According to Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsandCars.org, there have been eight related heatstroke deaths in the U.S. so far this year. She says too many parents believe they’re too careful to allow a heat-related tragedy to happen to their family.
“The worst mistake you can make is to think this can’t happen to you or someone in your family,” she says. “We’re human, and sometimes our memories let us down. If we realize everyone is capable of having something like this happen to them, we will put the correct safety measures into place.”
Fennell says those safety measures include always looking before you lock, or leaving an important item like a cell phone or handbag in the back seat so you have to open the back door to retrieve it every time you park. On average, 38 children die each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.
While most of those deaths are from parents leaving or forgetting their child in the back seat, Fennell says about a third are children who climb into a parked car unnoticed. She says you should always keep your vehicle locked even if it’s in your driveway or garage.
“And make sure you have keys that are out of reach of children,” she says. “So many of them have remote openers and the kids want to use those. They make noises and the trunk pops open and all of these fun things. But it could be a death sentence in the hands of a child.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, temperatures inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in only 10 minutes. Even with an outside temperature of just 60, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees in a matter of minutes.