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All summer I’ll be sharing tips to keep kids safe while they enjoy fun in the sun.  This week’s tip is about the deadly danger children face when they have access to or are left behind in parked cars.

It’s only the beginning of summer and there have already been 16 heat-related deaths from children being left in cars.  It seems like we are hearing about one of these awful stories every week!  A recent survey by SafetyKids.org revealed that:

  • 14 percent of parents say they intentionally have left their infants, toddlers, and kindergarten children alone in a parked vehicle.
  • 11 percent of parents admit to forgetting their child in a car.
  • Dads are almost three times more likely than moms to leave a child alone in a parked car – 23% compared to 8%.

While it’s easy to judge parents that have made this tragic mistake, given the right circumstances this could happen to anyone.  Here are a few precautions you can take to make sure it doesn’t happen to you…

Stay in the Car
To avoid getting out of the car when making quick trips, use the drive-thru whenever possible and your credit or debit card when getting gas.

Leave Something Behind
Place an item that you will need like your purse, briefcase, cell phone, or even your left shoe in the backseat.  You won’t get very far without realizing you have left one of them behind.

Always Lock Your Car Door
I know I have a habit of leaving my car door unlocked at home, especially when the car is in the garage.  But keeping the doors locked will keep a curious child from climbing in.  Be sure to keep your keys and car remote in a safe place as well.

Look Before You Lock
Get into the routine of checking your backseat before you lock your car doors.

Plan Ahead

Make arrangements with your child care provider that they will always call you if your child has not arrived by a designated time and you will always call them if your child will not be attending on a particular day.

Check the Car First
If your child is missing, make sure you check your car and trunk first.

Do Something
If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.  If the child is unresponsive, do what you can to get them out of the car immediately.

Got any other car safety tips to share?

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