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Summer safety rules for kids and cars

 A teddy bear in a car seat

Cars can very quickly get much hotter than the outside air. Children should never be left alone in them.

Even when it doesn't feel that hot outside, a parked car can become a sauna in minutes. That's why no child should ever be left alone inside a car, even for a moment, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Even when the outside temperature feels mild, it only takes minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to dangerous levels.

Children are especially vulnerable to the heat. In a hot car, a child's core body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult's temperature would.

To protect children from the heat, heed this advice from Safe Kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car, even with the windows cracked.
  • Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
  • Lock the doors and trunk when your car is in the driveway or parked near the house.
  • Keep the keys where children can't reach them.
  • Make sure all of the kids get out when you reach your destination.
  • Before you put kids in the car, check the temperature of the seats and seat belt buckles.
  • Keep rear fold-down seats closed so kids can't get into the trunk.
  • Teach older kids how to use your car's emergency trunk release so if they get locked in the trunk they can get out.
  • If your child gets trapped inside the car, get him or her out and call 911 right away so emergency personnel can check for signs of heatstroke.

Reviewed 5/31/2024

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