The summer months pose a unique set of dangers for Canadians of all ages, particularly heat risks. One fatal heat risk generally only affects young children: being trapped in a hot car on an even hotter day. Within 10 minutes, the temperature inside a car on a hot summer day can reach 50° C (122° F), making heat stroke—or worse—inevitable.
According to statistics from kidsandcars.org, 54 per cent of hot car deaths happened unintentionally, and most of these were due to small changes in routine that caused the parent or guardian to become distracted. Around 30 percent of fatalities were caused by children climbing into cars on their own and getting locked in, and 12 per cent of cases happened when parents knowingly left their child in the car for too long.
Just how hot does it get inside a car during a hot summer day? Watch this experiment to see:
Sadly, the number of fatalities continues to rise each year. Here’s how you can help prevent hot car deaths:
1. Keep your purse, briefcase or cellphone next to your child in the back seat so that you have to open the back doors to retrieve it.
2. Have your day care provider call you whenever you do not show up on days they are scheduled to care for your child.
3. When a child is missing, check your vehicle immediately. Sometimes children play inside vehicles and get locked in accidentally.
4. If you see a child alone in a car on a hot day, call 911 immediately.
Of course it’s important to talk to your children about car safety, including the risks of playing in a hot car. Keep your family safe this summer.