Child Safety: Sunny Days and Kids in Cars

by John McKiggan

Yesterday was the first sunny day we have had in what seems like months. I actually had to roll the windows down in my car driving home it was so hot.

By coincidence, Kids and Cars sent me a public service announcement yesterday reminding car owners of the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars.

So that’s probably why this story Child in car on hot day: What was mom thinking? caught my attention today. Fortunately the child in this story wasn’t hurt. But things could easily have turned out differently. Tragically so.

Through May 31 this year 8 children had already died in the United States from heat stroke in vehicles – close to the record-setting pace of 2010 when 49 infants and children died. Unfortunately there are no comparable statistics here in Canada because there is no one tracking this sort of vital information.

“It’s a record no one wants to see broken,” says Janette Fennell, founder and president of, a nonprofit child safety organization working to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles.

Heat More Dangerous to Children

A child’s body temperature climbs three to five times faster than an adult’s, especially in a hot car. In less than 30 minutes, the temperature inside a car can increase 35 degrees. An infant can die in as little as 15 minutes even on a pleasant 20 – degree day.

To prevent heat stroke deaths, Kids And recommends learning the following mnemonic to help prevent heat stroke deaths: Be Safe

Back seat – Put something in the back seat so you have to open the door when leaving the vehicle – cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.

Every child should be correctly restrained in the back seat.

Stuffed animal – Move it from the car seat to the front seat to remind you when your baby is in the back seat.

Ask your child-care provider to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn’t arrived on time.

Focus on driving – Avoid cell phone calls and texting while driving.

Every time you park your vehicle open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind.

I have met Janette and she is a passionate advocate for child safety. In fact, I was so impressed with the work, she and her organization have done that Arnold McKiggan Hutchison has partnered with Kids and Cars to create Kids and Cars Canada. If you would like more information, or want to know how you can help, feel free to contact us.

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