Yulee, Fla. – Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper reminds parents and persons responsible for children to not leave young children unattended in automobiles, especially during the hot summer months. A child dies from heatstroke about once every 10 days from being left alone in a hot vehicle. In fact, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatality for kids 14 and younger. Children climb into unlocked cars to play, or are left alone in the car. “These are tragedies that are 100 percent preventable. If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately” said Sheriff Leeper. If the child is in distress due to heat, get that child out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly by spraying the child with cool water or with water from a garden hose.
A child’s body temperature rises 3‐5 times faster than an adult’s. Even with the windows partially down, the
temperature inside a parked car can reach 125 degrees in just minutes. Leaving the windows opened slightly does not significantly slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature attained.
As parents know, life with newborns and small children is full of stress, sleep deprivation and distractions. And young children, especially babies, often fall asleep in their car seats; becoming quiet, unobtrusive little passengers. And sadly, for babies with rear‐facing seats, the seat looks the same from the front seat – whether occupied or not. In well over 50% of these cases, the person responsible for the child’s death unknowingly left them in the vehicle.
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
- If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle call 9-1-1.
- Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading.
- Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
- Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.
- If a child is missing, check the car first, including the trunk.
- Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
- Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver. Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
- Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
- Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.
For more information visit www.safercar.gov/heatstroke.