Parents reminded to check back seats for children as temperatures begin to rise

FILE(Source: Kids in Cars)
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 2:28 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Parents have been reminded to check their back seats for children as temperatures begin to rise and heat stroke remains a top concern.

As temperatures in Kansas begin to rise higher with the unofficial start to summer, TFI Family Services Inc. says it is important for parents to be mindful of how to protect their children and themselves from the heat. Over the last 25 years, it said more than 940 children have died of heatstroke after they were trapped in a hot car.

TFI noted that heatstroke - also known as hyperthermia - is the No. 1 cause of non-crash-related vehicle deaths for children. It happens when the body cannot cool itself as quickly as the temperature rises. Children are more vulnerable as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults.

The organization indicated that parents, caregivers and bystanders all play a role in ensuring a child’s death like this does not happen. One should never leave children alone in a vehicle and if a bystander sees a child alone in a car, they should call 911 immediately.

“A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” TFI Senior Vice President Rachelle Roosevelt said. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why TFI is asking everyone to help protect kids from this preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

TFI reminded caregivers to remember to ACT:

  • A - Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car and ensure the car is locked when an adult is not inside so children do not climb in on their own.
  • C - Create reminders like leaving a stuffed animal or moment in a child’s car seat when it is empty and moving it to the front seat when it is occupied as a visual reminder a child is in the back seat.
  • T - Take action if a child is seen alone in a hot car and call 911 as emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents guard against heat-related illnesses like cramps, exhaustion, dehydration and stroke by watching for symptoms. These include nausea, vomiting, extreme tiredness, faintness, shortness of breath, muscle spasms or aches and extreme thirst.