News release from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
For the next several days temperatures are expected to be in the upper 90’s with Heat Index in the 100’s. With that in mind, everyone needs to remember a potential danger that can impact young children. Did you know that a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees in ten minutes? Or that the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees?
Needless to say, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle for even a minute is not acceptable. Unfortunately, every year, young children are left alone in a vehicle that quickly heats up with the end result being injury or even death. Some cases involve kids getting into unlocked vehicles unbeknownst to parents and quickly succumb to the heat. Make sure your car is locked when you are not in it so kids are not able to gain access.
- “Look Before You Lock” ‐ Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. Make sure no child has been left behind.
- Create a reminder to check the back seat. Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
- Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop‐off. If your child does not show up as scheduled; and they have not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.
- Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
- If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.
- Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.
- Use drive‐thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.
If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.