SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Temperatures are expected to remain hot throughout the week and even hotter into the weekend. All that heat has experts urging caregivers to always check their back seat before leaving their vehicle.
It can happen to anyone, and in 2019 it happened to 52 children. The National Safety Council says that’s how many children were left behind in hot cars, leading to their death.
“It can happen to very, very loving, caring, very protective parents. It just, it just happens. And it happens very quickly,” Sue Illg said.
Sanford Family Life Specialist Sue Illg says fatigue, distractions and a new routine are a few reasons for a child being forgotten in the car.
“I can even be forgetful with my phone or my keys. I certainly hope it never happens to us, but again, that’s why I double check because I don’t ever want to be in that position where it does happen to us,” Katherine Jaeger said.
Katherine Jaeger gave birth to her first child, Lillian, just two months ago. The thought of forgetting her daughter in the car is terrifying, which is why she does various actions to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“I tend to keep the diaper bag underneath her car seat, which has my wallet in it usually. So as I grab the diaper bag, her car seats right there, and I grabbed her as well,” Jaeger said.
Illg says leaving something valuable in the back is one way to avoid a tragedy, and says having your daycare provider call if the child isn’t dropped off can also be useful.
Temperatures inside a car can raise about 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open according to the CDC.
“A child’s body heats three to five times faster than an adult one. So your time is very short,” Illg said.
Even on days that don’t feel as hot, be sure to take your child out. Illg says temperatures as low as 60 degrees can be fatal.
“Child deaths have been reported as low as 60 degrees in the car. And again, you’re happy in that first 10 minutes. So if you do see a child in a car, call 911 immediately, break the window, get the child out,” Illg said.
Illg adds that if you’re already out of the car with your child and your child is suddenly missing, always check inside any nearby cars in case your child climbed inside.