Monday, July 02, 2012


Summer safety rules for kids and cars

Summer has finally arrived and it is a wonderful time to enjoy being outdoors with your friends and family. The kids are out of school and many of us will be taking time off from work, but we can never take a vacation from safety. 

Sadly, each year in the United States an average of 38 children die as a result of being unattended in a hot vehicle. This is a preventable tragedy that is most commonly due to a change in routine where the parent or caregiver forgets they have a child in the backseat. It can also occur when a curious or adventurous child climbs into an unlocked car or trunk. 
A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at how fast the temperature in the interior of a vehicle would rise when the outside temperature was a moderate 72-96 degrees. The researchers found that the interior of parked vehicles raised an average of 19 degrees in the first 10 minutes regardless of the outside temperature. After one hour the temperature had increased by up to 50 degrees. Cracking the windows had little to no effect.
Please don’t let your child become a statistic. Follow these simple rules to avoid the unimaginable:

•  Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
•  If you see a child unattended in hot car call 911 immediately.
•  To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
•  Place your purse or brief case in the backseat near the child as a reminder.
•  When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
•  Lock your parked car so small children cannot climb inside. 

Protect your child from harm and yourself from heartbreak. By spending a few extra minutes for safety, this can be a summer a memorable one.

Cynthia Arpin, RN, is a Public Health Nurse  with the  Uncas Health District. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Arpin or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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