Summer safety: From toasty to deadly in 10 minutes

With temperatures sizzling during the summer months, children can find themselves in danger in a hurry if they’re left unattended in parked vehicles.

Even with the windows cracked two inches, the temperature inside a vehicle can become deadly hot in just 10 minutes when the weather outside is just over 80 degrees. That’s scary.

San Francisco State University recently conducted a study that found that an average of 38 children die every year in the U.S. because of vehicle-related heat stroke. As of mid-June, that tally had reached only 5 this year. Hopefully we can keep it that way.

Here are some interesting statistics about why children are dying in vehicles, based on the university’s analysis of 494 deaths between 1998 and 2011.

  • 52% of children were ‘forgotten’ by their caregivers.
  • 30% of children were playing in an unattended vehicle.
  • 17% of children were intentionally left in a parked vehicle.
  • 1% of children died in vehicles of undetermined circumstances.

If you’d like to read the report, here’s the link to San Francisco State University. You’ll find some interesting tidbits, including the fact that a third of the deaths involved children younger than a year old. You might also want to check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has tips like these for keeping your child safe.

  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  • Always lock vehicle doors to keep children from playing in your vehicle. You may also want to consider keeping the keys out of a child’s reach.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the car. This may include placing a purse or a briefcase in the back seat, forcing you to look backward before getting out of the vehicle.

Hope that helps! Have a safe summer!

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