Health Break | Published May 17, 2010

"Did you Drop Off at Daycare Today?" Health Agency Suggests Reminder

As silly as it may seem at first glance, SafeKids USA, a national health and safety organization, is recommending that parents and caregivers add a reminder to their daily office task list regarding the status of dropping children off at daycare. This recommendation, along with several others, are a few of the suggestions as Safe Kids USA kicks off a national initiative to prevent children from being left alone in cars.

Every year since 1998, heat stroke or hyperthermia has claimed the lives of more than 30 children when they were left alone in cars. It need not be a very hot day for the car to become too hot for a young child’s body. There is no temperature when it is safe to leave a child alone in a car as their bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than an adult’s. Heat stroke, which can cause permanent brain injury or death, occurs when a child’s core body temperature reaches 107 degrees. Children as old as 13 have been affected.We urge all parents and caregivers to NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE IN A CAR for any reason or any amount of time.

Here are some tips to be sure your child does not get left unknowingly in a vehicle:
• Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.
• Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child when they reach for their belongings.
• Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you dropped your child off at day care.
• Set your computer “outlook” program to ask, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
• Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare that you will be called within a few minutes. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off little kids at day care.
• Teach children not to play in any vehicle.
• Lock all vehicle doors and trunk – especially at home. The car is not a playground.
• Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child goes missing.

For more information go to www.safekids.org/nlyca.

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