(WETM) — With temperatures expected to rise into the 90s this weekend, several NYS agencies are reminding people to use extra caution and never leave children, vulnerable adults, or pets alone in a vehicle.
The Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services put out the warning and provided steps on how to prevent vehicular heatstroke. Temperatures can rise quickly, and unfortunately, several children die every year after being left unattended in a motor vehicle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 23 children died last year after being left in hot cars. Since 1998, there have been 906 such fatalities in the United States. Children are more respectable to heatstroke as a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s.
A few simple steps can help prevent these needless tragedies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides guidance for parents, caregivers, and passersby on how to prevent a child from suffering heatstroke.
- Never leave a child or vulnerable adult in a vehicle unattended — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
- Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away. Train yourself to Park, Look, Lock, or always ask yourself “Where’s Baby?”.
- Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock.
- Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.
- Ask your childcare provider to call if your child doesn’t show up for care as expected.
Everyone — Including Bystanders
- If you see a child or vulnerable adult alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911. A person in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
- Always lock your car doors and trunk, year-round, so children can’t get into unattended vehicles.
- Store car keys out of a child’s reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.
“These cases are so heartbreaking because oftentimes they are entirely preventable,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner, and GTSC Chair. “Parents are busy and many of you are juggling more than ever and dealing with more distractions than ever, so setting up a routine to remind yourself to always check the back seat for your children is critically important.”
Pets are also at risk of dying due to heat stroke if left unattended in a vehicle. If you see an animal in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress, you are advised to call your local animal care and control agency or police department immediately.