When temperatures in Arkansas rise, it is difficult to imagine that any parent could ever leave their child alone in a vehicle, but it is possible and often fatal.
Nationwide, an average of 37 children die each year in hot cars. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services and Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) has tips for parents to stop this tragedy before it starts.
To ensure your child's safety, always check your vehicle for children before you leave, and if parents find themselves in this scenario, "ACT." Before locking the vehicle and leaving it, families must avoid forgetting the child, create reminders and take action, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids Worldwide campaigns.
A — Avoid this event by never leaving a child alone in a vehicle for any amount of time. When the vehicle is unattended, lock the doors so that children cannot enter.
C — Create reminders. Place a purse, briefcase or phone near the child's car seat to ensure that you will look before leaving your vehicle. Parents or grandparents can also place a stuffed animal in the child's car seat when it is not in use and place the stuffed animal in the passenger seat when the child is riding with them. This will remind adults to check for the child. Be certain of a child's location at all times, and plan ahead with caregivers to call and inform you of whether he or she is present.
T — Take action if you see a child left in a vehicle. Call 911 immediately, and if possible, rescue the child from the vehicle after receiving emergency instructions.
Though parents may think prior air-conditioning will help to keep their car cool after they exit, they should know that within five minutes on a 90-degree day, the temperature within a vehicle reaches that of the outdoors, and for every nine minutes the interior temperature increases 15 degrees.
For more resources visit www.archildrens.org.