The blazing sun of summer months is a good time to remind everyone of the dangers of leaving children or pets in a hot car.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 19 children have died of heatstroke in 2019, as of July 10. Also, the agency notes there are, on average, 38 deaths each year from children being left in hot cars.
In addition, 814 children have died due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke between 1998 and 2018 — 28 of those deaths were in Louisiana.
All of these deaths could have been prevented, according to NHTSA.
As to causes, 54 percent of the children were forgotten by the caregiver, 26.3 percent gained access on their own, 18.9 percent knowingly were left by the caregiver and 0.9 percent were of unknown causes.
The NHTSA offers these safety tips:
• Never leave a child unattended in a car no matter how short the stop, or what the weather is, even if the windows are cracked.
• Be sure to lock your vehicle’s doors at all times when it is not in use.
• Put the car keys in a place where children can’t get to them. Children who enter vehicles on their own with no adult supervision can be killed or injured.
• Before you lock the car, check the backseat to make sure nobody has been left in it.
• If you notice a child left alone in a car, take action! If the child is not responsive or in distress, immediately call 911, get the child out of the car and spray the child with cool water — not an ice bath. If the child is responsive, stay with the child until help arrives and have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them.
Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.
Warning signs of heatstroke are red, hot and moist or dry skin; no sweating; strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse; nausea and confusion or strange behavior.
Don’t take chances with the lives of children or pets when it comes to cars, and follow the above life-saving tips.