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AAA issues warning about leaving children in hot cars

Automotive EquipmentManufacturing and EngineeringAAASafety of CitizensNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration

AAA Mid-Atlantic today released a list of safety tips to help parents and care givers remember to never leave a child unattended in a car. Their advice comes on the heels of the heartbreaking death on Friday of a 16-month-old girl in Baltimore County. She had been left in a hot truck for several hours and died of hyperthermia, according to officials. 

“These deaths prove a painful point – children cannot be left unattended in cars,” Ragina C. Averella, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a statement. “It’s important to remember that temperatures inside a car on a day with outside temperatures in the mid-to-high 90’s can quickly soar to nearly 200 degrees, which is hot enough to cook many foods and to kill most living things. Never leave children or pets in a parked car. If you do see a child or pet locked in a car and cannot find the owner of the vehicle, call 911 immediately.”

AAA Mid-Atlantic and NHTSA have released the following safety tips: 

  • Never leave a child alone in a car – even with the windows partially opened – as a vehicle’s interior can still heat up quickly to deadly temperatures.
  • Do not leave your children in a running vehicle with the air conditioner on even for a few minutes; your child may put the car into drive or even get caught in a closing power window, not to mention that you increase the risk of your vehicle being carjacked and your child abducted.
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.  Children have died because they fell asleep in their car seats and their parents or caregivers didn’t realize they were still in the car.
  • If your spouse or a guardian is taking your children to day care ask him or her to call you to make sure the drop-off went according to plan.
  • Do things to remind you that a child is in the vehicle:
  • Leave a written note in your vehicle where you will see it as you leave the vehicle, such as on the dashboard area.
  • Place your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat where your child is seated so that you will have to check that area when you leave the vehicle.
  • Keep an object in your child’s car seat, such as a stuffed toy.  When the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when leaving the vehicle, as a reminder that a child is in the back seat. 
  • Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle – teach them that a car is not a play area; always lock your car doors and keep car keys out of children’s reach.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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