Tips for Grandparents to Prevent Hot Car Deaths for Children

Sadly, 764 children have died of heatstroke in hot cars in the last 20 years in the United States. The NHTSA’s Heatstroke Awareness Challenge seeks to bring additional awareness to a dangerous and deadly problem. On July 31, which is Heatstroke Awareness Day, the NHTSA’s social media accounts will be dedicated to spreading the word about the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car for even a few minutes. The agency has produced videos, graphics, and fact sheets that you can share with your friends and family members to bring awareness to the problem.

According to the NHTSA, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise to 110 degrees or more even though the temperature outside is cool. A child left in the vehicle can succumb to heatstroke quickly as the temperature in the vehicle rises. Parents and caregivers must exercise what measures necessary to remind themselves to check the vehicle every time to ensure a child or other vulnerable person is not left in the vehicle by mistake.

Children Staying with Grandparents During the Summer

During the summer months and other school breaks, children often spend time with their grandparents. Even though a grandparent would never intentionally leave a child in a vehicle, it can happen. When you are not accustomed to having a child in your car, you can become rushed and assume the child follows you into the house or forget to check the vehicle before locking the doors.

Therefore, if you are a grandparent keeping your grandchildren this summer or your children will be staying with your parents for a few weeks, it can be a good idea to review some of the tips and suggestions for preventing a child from suffering heatstroke in a vehicle.

  • Always lock your vehicle after confirming everyone is out of the vehicle. Children may climb into a vehicle to play and become trapped. Keep your car keys in a secure place in your home that children cannot access.
  • If you have a child in an infant seat or booster seat, place a stuffed animal in the seat when it is empty. When you secure the child in the seat, move the stuffed animal to sit beside you on the front seat or on top of your wallet or purse to help remind you that you have a child in the vehicle.
  • Get into the habit of checking the vehicle whenever you exit the car. It takes 30 days to create a habit that only requires a few seconds, but it could save a life one day.
  • Place your shoe in the floorboard in front of the child. If you do forget, stepping onto a hard, hot surface without a shoe will be a quick, jolting reminder a child is in the vehicle.
  • Hang a reminder card or ribbon the rearview mirror or tie a large ribbon around your hand to remind you to check the vehicle when exiting the car.

People do not believe it could happen to them; however, it does happen. Even the most cautious person can become distracted or upset and momentarily forget to check the vehicle, especially someone who is not accustomed to having a child in the car 48 to 50 weeks out of the year.

The Attorneys of The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA

Our entire staff of attorneys and legal professionals want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable summer. We also want to remind you that you also need an estate plan to protect your loved ones in the event you pass away. Take time to invest in your future and protect your family by consulting with one of our Michigan estate planning attorneys this summer.

Call 888-390-4360 or use the contact form on our website to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

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