District Attorney Mike Ramos recently released a public service announcement to remind the public that when children are left in hot cars, they can succumb to heatstroke and ultimately death within minutes.
“The public service announcement we released today is a reminder to parents and caregivers of young children about the dangers of leaving young children unattended in a parked car,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “Please do not leave a child in a hot car, even for a few minutes. Doing so can be fatal.”
Ramos added, even when outside temperature are in the low 80’s, the temperature inside the parked vehicle can turn deadly within minutes—even with the windows partially open.
According to the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences, there have been 637 deaths in the United States as a result of adults leaving a young child in a vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided the following tips and precautions for parents and caregivers on how to prevent heatstroke incidents from occurring:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn’t show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.
- In addition, NHTSA urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number.
- A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
“Unfortunately, we had a recent case in the High Desert region in which a couple left their child in a parked vehicle for over an hour,” Ramos said. “We prosecuted both parents. Fortunately, the child suffered no major injuries, but today’s message is not about prosecution, but rather prevention. No child should ever be left in an unattended vehicle.”