RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- As summer officially gets underway today there's a warning for parents and anyone taking care of a child or pet, never to leave them inside an unattended vehicle. While there is a lot of fun to be had in the sun, being out in the heat can also be dangerous. Zelda Boyd, Director of Early Childhood Development said if you come across a child or pet inside a car, you must react quickly.
"It's really important to call 9-1-1," Boyd said. "We don't know if someone has left the vehicle intentionally or unintentionally, but in any case it's important to call 9-1-1 If you see a car with a child or a pet inside."
A car can become 20 degrees hotter within a matter of minutes. And when you consider even on a 70 degree day, inside a car it can get up to 120 degrees even with the windows partially open.
"On average 38 children die in a heated car during the summer," Boyd said. "Little one's, infants, toddlers the heat raises very quickly in a closed vehicle and basically their liver, kidneys all become terribly impaired in a heated vehicle. Just one death prompts us to want to do this and when you think about 38 annually that's really critical."
Boyd offers tips on how to avoid accidentally leaving your child inside a vehicle:
- Sing with your children, so you don't lose track they are inside the car.
- Avoid distractions like cell phones while driving.
- Remind children a car is not a playground.
- Ensure the car doors and trunk remain locked.
- Keep car keys away from children.
- Check with your daycare provider to ensure they have a plan in place to account for all children in their care.
- Put your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the backseat so you don’t forget to check.
For more tips on children safety tips, click here.