Child's death in hot vehicle brings up safety message

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -  Safety advocates say there are things you can do everyday -- including working with your daycare provider -- to make sure a tragedy like recent child death in Richmond doesn't happen.

We all live busy lives, so the key is to minimize the risk of forgetting you have a child or children with you.

One of the best things to do is put something you need like your purse, briefcase or employee id badge in the backseat -- so you can't forget about what's back there.

This recent tragedy in Richmond is not the only situation like this we've covered.  Unfortunately -- locally and nationally -- kids dying in hot cars makes headlines over and over.

"People are very busy, this can happen to anyone, which is what makes it so dangerous," said Windy VanCuren of AAA Mid-Atlantic.  "People don't realize on days when its 90, 95, 100 outside, the temperatures inside your vehicle can quickly, very quickly soar to upwards of 200 degrees -- you know that's hot enough to cook some food and really to kill most living things."

But there are lots of simple things you can do to make sure that doesn't happen.  Like make it  a habit to put a toy in your child's carseat when it's empty.  And put it in front beside you when the child is there in the backseat.

"Anything that's going to remind you that the child is in the car," VanCuren said. "If your child has a favorite blanket, put it in the seat next to you in the front so when you look at it, you say, oh that's right, my child is in the backseat."

Write yourself a note and leave it on the passenger seat to remind yourself if you aren't normally the person who takes your child to daycare. And work with your daycare provider.

Make sure you know the checks and balances in place to account for whether your child is in school -- also remember -- these same rules apply to your pets.

"Do not leave your pets unattended in the car even if the windows are rolled down because again, those temperatures soar and it's just as detrimental to your animals," VanCuren said.

One other thing safety advocates recommend is to pay at the gas pump -- when your car is definitly not running.

That way you won't be tempted to run inside and leave your child in a car that can get hot very quickly.

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