It's a story that happens too often -- a child being left inside a hot car. It happened recently in Oakland Park, where a 2-year-old boy was found dead inside of a van during a hot summer day.
According to the National Safety Council, 52 children died in hot cars in 2018 -- the deadliest year on record in the past 20 years.
On kidsandcars.org, it lists that 24 kids have died in hot cars so far in 2019. It says on average, 38 children die each year.
Even on mild or cloudy days, temperatures inside vehicles can skyrocket to life-threatening levels. The National Safety Council says the three primary circumstances resulting in car deaths are: a caregiver forgetting a child inside a vehicle, a child gaining access to a vehicle, and someone knowingly leaving a child inside a car.
The NSC also advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine to avoid distractions and reduce the risk of forgetting children inside a car, such as placing an item such as a purse or a shoe in the back seat to force you to look before leaving.
Here's what to do in the event you come across a child in a hot car:
- Timing is critical -- do not wait for the driver to return
- Call 911 right away
- If the child is unresponsive, immediately get them out of the car, by an means necessary
- Move the child to a cooler environment, either with air conditioning or shade. Dampen them with cool water or wet rags
- If the child is responsive and not in distress, stay with them until help arrives