Today’s guest post is from SCAN’s Summer Intern Iliana Panameño, who recently graduated from Union College and hopes to empower the Latino community through advocacy work and policy analysis. Her work at SCAN this summer focuses on public education and advocacy issues.

blogblock_kidsandcarsOur community has experienced two tragic deaths this month due to children being left alone in a hot car. Let’s help one another, and let’s get involved in tackling this important summer safety issue.

Mikey was the most loved and adored baby on earth.  He was our miracle baby, the last survivor of 14 embryos conceived through in-vitro fertilization.  We loved Mikey like the air we breathed…”

Mikey Warschauer’s story – from KidsandCars.org – is worth reading in full. Ten years ago, Mikey was one of the 38 children (on average) who die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths. Many have wondered, “How can a parent completely forget that their child has been left alone in the car?” The answer is that even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave their baby sleeping in the car. According to Parents Central, most deaths due to heat exhaustion occur when there is a change in a daily routine, and your partner or caregiver who will take care of the child for a few hours, forgets that your child is in the back seat.

It is important to remember that disasters happen quickly. Here are 6 tips on how you can keep your child safe from heat exhaustion this summer:

  1. Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
  2. Do not let your child play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
  3. Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are open. The inside temperature of a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes!
  4. Keep a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it’s empty. Move the teddy bear in front of the seat when you place your child in the car seat as a visual reminder, or…
  5. Put your purse/briefcase, etc. (something you will need when you get to your final destination) in the backseat next to the baby which will force you to check the backseat when you arrive so that you see the baby is there.
  6. Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  7. If you’re dropping your child off at childcare, and normally it’s your spouse or partner who drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure the drop-off went according to plan.

“I cannot bring Mikey back…but at least I pray that the story of his death may help prevent other similar tragedies,” writes Mikey’s father in his story here. For more information on how to protect your child and others from heat exhaustion (as well as other car safety tips) click on the following links:

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