News Flash

County News

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Kids in Hot Cars: What You Can Do to Prevent Tragedy

baby

Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body does. Those sensitive bodies combined with cars that heat up like greenhouses are a deadly mix. Fifty-one young children perished in 2018 in hot cars, the deadliest year on record according to the National Safety Council. The good news is, there are things you can do to help prevent this – whether you are a parent or not. Knowledge can arm everyone with the ability to help eradicate these unnecessary tragedies.

“Heatstroke can happen to a child in a car when outside temps are as low as 57 degrees,” said Stafford County Fire and Rescue Chief Joseph Cardello. “It is never safe to leave a child alone in a car. As well, it is important to take extra steps to remind yourself your child is in the backseat, even if you’ve driven the same route hundreds of times.”

Cars act like mobile greenhouses with temperatures rising as much as 50 degrees higher on the inside compared to the outside. The largest rise happens in the first 30 minutes. Even if you park your car in the shade, the heat inside a car can rise to 100 degrees after an hour. Heatstroke begins with a core body temperature of 104 degrees.

How do children die in hot cars? A little over half are unknowingly left. The parent or guardian’s brain goes on autopilot, writing a program, when one does the same thing, day after day after day. Stress, fatigue or a change in caregiver routine can cause a person to operate on autopilot and completely forget their child in the car. This sad occurrence happens across all demographics. You can help prevent this by:

  • Setting an audible GPS to go to your child care destination
  • Talk to your child throughout the drive
  • Set a cell phone alarm to ring when you reach your destination, using your child’s name as the alarm description
  • Do not answer the phone and avoid distractions while driving
  • Create a “look before you lock” process to form an ongoing habit
  • Locking vehicles when not in use.

Some children gain access to cars on their own. They might be trying to retrieve a toy, be playing hide and seek. They could be looking for candy. It is important to teach children that cars are not play areas and if they need something from the car, to ask an adult for assistance. If you do not have children, check your backseat when you get in. Make sure a child has not gained access.

The rules that apply to children also apply to pets. What should you do if you see a child or a pet alone in a car on a warm day? First, call 911. Search the immediate area, go inside the establishment or ask someone around you to look for the car’s owner. Do not wait more than a few minutes to return. If the child or pet is in distress, remove them from the car if it is unlocked.

If the car is not unlocked, your actions might be covered under Good Samaritan laws. Virginia has a Good Samaritan law that allows for – It is smart to carry a car safety hammer – a device that breaks windows and can cut seat belts. These are useful for rescuing any person in distress, like the two good Samaritans who rescued a man who had a heart attack in his still running car on Interstate 95.

The National Safety Council has a very comprehensive online safety course you can take on keeping children safe from hot cars - https://training.nsc.org/hot-cars/ . The information is useful to everyone and we all have a part in keeping our most vulnerable residents safe.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in County News

mask

Stafford Asking for Help with Masks

Posted on: March 23, 2020
Budget

FY2021 Budget Update

Posted on: March 6, 2020
VOTING

Voting 2020: Where to Find Information

Posted on: February 27, 2020
atc2

Aquia Town Center Update

Posted on: February 19, 2020
carp

Help Coming for Hydrilla at Lake Mooney

Posted on: February 13, 2020
Virginia-capital

The Unseen Role of the Dillon Rule

Posted on: January 16, 2020
Nasty

Flushing Wipes Clogs Pipes

Posted on: October 31, 2019
Now-Open

Brooke Road Opens to Drivers

Posted on: October 28, 2019
Rain-Barrel

DEQ Issues Drought Watch Statewide

Posted on: October 17, 2019
Brooke-Road

Update on Brooke Road Reopening Delay

Posted on: October 3, 2019
brooke road

Update: Brooke Road Reopening Delayed

Posted on: September 27, 2019
Andrew-Chapel

2019 Transportation Bond: Major Projects

Posted on: September 19, 2019
Family-Disaster-Plan

Preparation Is the Key in Emergencies

Posted on: September 17, 2019
floodplain

Record Rainfall Reveals Flood Prone Areas

Posted on: December 18, 2018
taxday

Multiple Options Make for Easy Payments

Posted on: November 16, 2018
summerreadingweb

Summer Reading at Stafford Libraries

Posted on: July 13, 2018
911web

Deciding When to Call 911

Posted on: July 6, 2018
mostaskedweb (1)

Where Do You Go to Do That?

Posted on: June 13, 2018
summerdrivingweb

Summer Increases Driving Concerns

Posted on: May 24, 2018