State launches "Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car" program

Susan Pollach
Susan Pollach Submitted

Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of summer, and with hot sun come reminders to never ever leave your child alone in a car.

Three children across the country have already died this year in hot cars, including the earliest hot-car-related death ever reported in Kentucky.

Last year, a record 49 children (including three from Kentucky) died after being left alone in cars. Since 2004, Kentucky has lost 13 children in hot cars, at least one every year.

In 2010, Safe Kids USA started a hyperthermia-prevention initiative and invited Kentucky to join this year.

The statewide launch of the program, "Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car," took place Tuesday in Frankfort.

Everyone's help is needed to ensure that not one more Kentucky child is needlessly endangered.

About half of hot-car-related deaths occur when parents have a change in their normal routine and forget a baby, who is often left sleeping quietly in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the car.

While this is the safest place for children to ride, it can be easy to overlook.

So prevention might best be accomplished through reminders, especially passive ones.

Place your purse, briefcase, or backpack on the floor of the backseat, where you will see the baby when you go to retrieve it.

Program your smart phone, watch alarm or computer to remind you to make sure you drop the child off at day care.

A number of child-care centers have been interested in helping with this initiative and have chosen to call a parent if they don't call but fail to show up with a child who is usually dropped off at a certain time.

You could suggest this to your child-care provider.

About one-third of the children who die in hot cars climb into vehicles and trunks while playing and become trapped.

Teaching your children to never play in a car and not letting them play with your keys are good active prevention measures, but passive ones can help, too.

Most of us feel pretty safe and might not think to lock our cars, but in both rural and urban areas, locking is a good way to ensure that no child can accidentally get locked in while playing.

If you live in a rural area and have old cars in your yard, consider taking the doors off, just like when throwing away a refrigerator. Disable the trunk lock.

If a child is missing, be sure to always check the car first because that can save a life if done quickly enough.

Some children die in cars because someone has left them there intentionally, to run an errand "just for a minute or two."

Those parents don't realize that even on a relatively cool day with a nice breeze and the windows open, a car can heat up by as much as 19 degrees in the first 10 minutes.

If you should accidently lock your child in your car, Pop A Lock will come without charge to let a child out anywhere that they provide coverage.