Health Department and Safe Kids USA Remind Adults of the Dangers Posed By Leaving Children Alone in Vehicles

Created on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 15:59

Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

During the past few months, seventeen children have died across the country while alone in a vehicle, and summer, a prime time for such accidents, has just begun. The concern is that a child’s body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s, so it only takes a few short minutes before a child can become dangerously overheated. Also, in just 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can increase by 19 degrees – and it continues to rise. There is no evidence that cracking the windows helps prevent the temperature in vehicle interiors from reaching dangerous levels. In fact, sunlight coming through car windows makes the car work like an oven.

Every year, more than 30 children die because they are left alone in a car.

The Marion County Health Department and Safe Kids USA strongly advise that children should never be left unattended in a vehicle, no matter the circumstances. All vehicles should be locked and trunks secured to prevent accidental deaths.

If you see a child left unattended in car, try to gain access to the vehicle and call for help. Police and emergency responders are trained to determine if a child is in trouble. Other advice includes:

“Keep keys out of children’s reach. Cars are not playgrounds or babysitters. Check vehicles and trunks first if a child goes missing,” said Serifatu Walton, Injury Prevention Coordinator for the Marion County Health Department and Coalition Coordinator, Safe Kids Indianapolis.