As the weather heats up, chances are you and your family might be spending more time in the car. From vacations to road trips to afternoon rides to the beach or pool to cool off, it’s important to remember summer car seat safety for your little one as you travel and indulge in summer fun.
Managing the Heat in a Car Seat
Obviously, one of the biggest concerns during the summer is the relentless heat in the car. The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that heatstrokes in cars are the leading non-crash related cause of death by automobiles for children under the age of 14. An average of 37 children die every year as a result of a hot car and more than half of those children are under the age of 2. Most of these cases occur during the warmer months, although they’re possible in the fall and winter too.
Heatstroke is common and dangerous in children because:
- Kids’ bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s, making them more at risk to overheat very quickly.
- It doesn’t take a lot of heat to kill a child. On a 72-degree day, a car can reach deadly temperatures in less than 30 minutes.
- Rolling the windows down doesn’t help keep it cool.
General Tips for Car Summer Safety
- Never leave a child alone. To help keep your child safe in the summer, the number one rule should be to never, ever leave a child alone in a parked car, especially during the summer. Not even for a “few minutes” or a quick errand, because you never know what could happen.
- Talk to your child. If your child is older, also talk to him or her about what he should do if he ever gets trapped in a car. We did a “training session” with my toddler and preschooler, just in case. This is helpful in situations when you’re not necessarily nearby—what if your child decides to climb into a car to play and gets trapped, for example? To prevent this, make it a habit to always keep cars and vehicles locked while parked, too.
- Create a reminder. Experts recommend creating some kind of reminder system to help prevent a child from being left in the car. Most deaths occur when a parent or caregiver has a change in routine and goes on “auto-pilot,” forgetting the child is in the car. For example, if you don’t normally take your baby to daycare, but were supposed to drop him off in the morning, it would be easier for you to forget that he or she was there and walk into work.
- As a reminder, stash something in the backseat that you have to retrieve for work, like a badge or your cell phone, so you always get in the habit of checking your backseat, no matter what. Or, you could go a step further and purchase a baby car seat alarm for yourself and any caregivers. Also never be afraid to check in with your partner or other caregivers after drives with a quick text or call to make sure your child is safe.
Read the rest at Verywell.com