On average 38 children in the United States die each year after being left in a hot car. That is a number San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos wants to see eliminated altogether.
In the second of a series of public service announcements aimed at irresponsible humans who leave pets and children in hot vehicles, Ramos reminds the public that children can succumb to heatstroke and death within minutes. A child’s temperature can rise three to five times faster than that of an adult.
“The public service announcement we released today is a reminder to parents and caregivers of young children about the dangers of leaving young children unattended in a parked car,” Ramos said in a news release issued Monday. “Please do not leave a child in a hot car, even for a few minutes. Doing so can be fatal.”
Ramos added, “Even when outside temperature are in the low 80’s, the temperature inside the parked vehicle can turn deadly within minutes—even with the windows partially open.”
Ramos also included the following tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for parents and caregivers on how to prevent heatstroke incidents from occurring:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.
- In addition, NHTSA urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number.
- A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
“Unfortunately, we had a recent case in the High Desert region in which a couple left their child in a parked vehicle for over an hour,” Ramos said. “We prosecuted both parents, and fortunately, the child didn’t suffer any major injuries. Today’s message is not about prosecution, but rather prevention. No child should ever be left in an unattended vehicle.”
The public service announcement was created by Christopher Lee, public information officer for the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. To view other videos, check out the department’s YouTube channel.