HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - "Just about every summer we have children who die from heat stroke after they've been left in a car alone," said Karen Ivey. She is the Safe Kids coordinator at Huntsville Hospital.
She said this is a national tragedy and the numbers are staggering.
"Since 1998 there have been 550 confirmed deaths in the United States," she said.
She said the most common scenario is when parents are out of their normal routine and simply leave the child in the car.
"Put the child in, go to work, and they were suppose to drop the child off at day care, and that's a common scenario," said Ivey.
She said parents don't realize how fast a car can heat up on a hot day.
"On a 90 degree day, your car can heat up to be 110 degrees in about 10 minutes," Ivey said.
Little bodies don't have the ability to fight off quick rising temperatures.
"Children lack the internal temp control. Their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults do when they are left in the car," added Ivey.
She said a child's body can heat up to 106 degrees in about 10 to 15 minutes. She said they can have a heat stroke and die in that amount of time.
The bottom line? Never leave your child alone in a car, no matter how small amount of time you think you will be gone.
- NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A VEHICLE. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE!
- IF YOU SEE A CHILD UNATTENDED IN A HOT VEHICLE CALL 911.
- Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
- Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
- Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
- Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
- Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.