Last year 52 children died in a hot car in the United States; 3 of those deaths occurred in Maricopa County. In recognition of National Heatstroke Awareness Day this July 31, we want to remind everyone of simple changes that can be made not only as parents and caregivers but as bystanders as well, to prevent children and pets from being left inside a hot car.
More than half of all fatal vehicular heatstroke cases involve a parent or caregiver who forgot a child was with them in their vehicle. On a day to day basis, we spend a lot of time keeping up with our routine and following ingrained habits. So much so that any change to our routine becomes challenging to remember. Distractions also contribute to forgetfulness, and now more than ever, a lot is distracting us. As our daily routines continue to change due to COVID-19, we must pay attention and take the extra steps to make sure we never leave a child or pet in a hot car.
- Set reminders on your cell phone and car to let you know that a child is traveling with you.
- Let your caregiver know to call you if your child doesn’t arrive by a specific time.
- Put your wallet, purse, laptop, or left shoe in the back seat to make sure you check it before you lock your car
- Similar to children, pets cannot cool themselves quickly enough to keep up with temperatures inside a vehicle. If you can’t bring your pet with you, they should stay at home.
- If you see a child or pet in a parked vehicle, call the 911 and follow their instructions to get them out safely.
While there hasn’t been a case of child vehicular heatstroke in Arizona this year, there have unfortunately been eight deaths across the country. Arizonans are no stranger to heat, especially over the summer, and know the dangers of prolonged heat exposure outdoors. These same risks apply and are exponentially more dangerous inside a vehicle, especially for children. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office encourages everyone to incorporate these safety habits into their daily routine year-round to help protect children from vehicular heatstroke.
Please view the following video from our partners at iHeart Radio to learn more vehicular heatstroke safety tips. For more information and other ways to help keep your family safe visit, MaricopaCountyAttorney.org/Vehicular-Heatstroke