By CHRIS MENEES
It can be a deadly combination.
Fulton Police Chief Terry Powell said children, dependent adults, the elderly or pets combined with hot weather and cars can quickly lead to danger.
“We need your help to make sure that no child dies needlessly by being left alone in a hot vehicle,” Powell said.
On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes, according to Powell.
After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, the elderly, children and pets are in danger of heat stroke.
“On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute and quickly become lethal,” he said.
Powell offered a number of safety tips to help parents prevent the tragedy of accidentally leaving a child in a hot car. They include:
• Put something you will need — such as a cell phone, purse, sunshade, lunch or briefcase — on the floor in the back seat. Get in the habit of opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach a destination.
“This way, making sure no child is left behind will become a habit. Safety experts call this the ‘Look … Then Lock’ campaign,” Powell said.
• Keep a large teddy bear in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the teddy bear in the front passenger seat.
“It’s a great visual reminder that anytime the teddy bear is up front, a child is secured in a child safety seat behind you,” he said.
• Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call them if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled. This is common courtesy and makes sure everyone involved in the care of the child is informed of their whereabouts on a daily basis. Ask these caregivers to always phone you if your child doesn’t show up when expected.
“Many children’s lives could have been saved by such a phone call,” the police chief said. “Give each of your child care providers all your telephone numbers, including that of an extra family member or friend, so they can always confirm the whereabouts of your child.
• If you see a child, dependent adult or pet alone in a hot vehicle, get involved. Call local law enforcement immediately to report the incident. Powell said if the person or animal left unattended is hot or seems sick, they should be removed from the vehicle as quickly and safely as possible.
• Never leave car keys where children can access them and always make sure a car is locked so children cannot access the car without supervision.
• Do not underestimate a child’s capabilities. Teach children about the dangers of a car — especially the car trunk.
“Most children can differentiate between a tool and a toy. Make certain they know that a car is not a toy,” Powell added.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 6.1.11