Heatstroke Prevention Day: how to prevent hot-car deaths

Cars heat up quickly. If you’ve ever touched the metal belt buckle in your car during the summer, you know that your car can become like an oven after several minutes in the sun.

Lieutenant Anthony O’Boyle from San Diego Sheriff’s Department came by the studio on Tuesday to talk about the dangers of heat stroke and what you can do to keep yourself vigilant and your family safe during the summer months.

An average of 38 children die every year in hot cars around the United States. These include instances where a child has been forgotten in a car (50%), accidentally locks themselves in a car or trunk (30%), or, in a small number of cases, when a child has been intentionally left in a car (20%)

In California, it’s illegal to leave a child aged 6 or younger inside a vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years old. Kaitlyn’s Law was passed in 2001 and was named after Kaitlyn Russell, a one-month-old baby in Riverside County who died in 2000 after her babysitter left her in a hot car.

Child endangerment is also a serious offense that is regularly charged in cases of leaving a child unattended in a car. It’s California Penal Code 273A and if found guilty of child endangerment, you could face one year in county jail if filed as a misdemeanor, or two, four or six years in state prison, if filed as a felony.

Tips for staying aware:
-Place a post it note on your dashboard
-Place a teddy bear or stuff toy on the passenger seat as a reminder your child is in the backseat
-What is the most important thing you need to gain access to your office? A keycard or ID or access badge like this. Place that in the backseat.
-Place your purse, wallet, laptop bag, phone in the backseat.
-We always have our phones with us. When you’re discussing plans regarding next day’s drop off, take steps at that moment to put a reminder on your phone with a loud alarm.
-Ask your spouse or another family member to call and remind you as well.
-Sign up for alerts with your school or daycare so they will call, email and text you when your child is not dropped off in time.
-Always keep your car doors locked so children can’t get inside and become trapped.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Health