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Tips for preventing hot car deaths this summer

Last year, more than 50 people died from heatstroke after being in a hot car. Doing something as simple as locking your doors can save a child's life.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Summer is officially here and as we are coming off a hot holiday weekend, it’s important to remember how dangerous high temperatures can be, especially for kids.

Every year, dozens of children die of heatstroke after being left inside hot cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 54 deaths were reported in 2018, making it the deadliest year on record.

Even when the weather outside doesn’t seem bad, the inside of a car can still become dangerously hot. When it’s 75 degrees outside, a car can reach up to nearly 110 degrees in about 30 minutes. When the outdoor temperature gets up into the 90s, that internal car temperature can reach 130 degrees.

Here are some tips on keeping your children safe this summer from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Park. Look. Lock.

Always look inside your car before locking the doors. The NHTSA reported that around 54% of hot car deaths happen because someone forgets a child in a car. According to KidsandCars.org, something as simple as a change in routine or a miscommunication could result in a child being left in a car.

Lock your doors

You always need to keep your car doors locked, even at home. Children can easily wander off and get trapped inside a hot car in your driveway. The first hot car death reported in 2020, according to the NHTSA, happened in April when a 4-year-old left a home and climbed into a vehicle without his family noticing.

Never leave a child alone

Even if you leave the windows down or the air conditioning running, never leave your child or pet alone inside a car. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s, according to the NHTSA.

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, don’t ignore it. If the child looks okay, try to find the parents. If the child is unresponsive or appears to be in distress, call 911. You can also attempt to get into the car to help the child, even if that means breaking a window.

More resources on preventing hot car deaths are listed on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

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