Columbus officials share hot car safety tips for end of summer

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:58 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 9:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Even though kids are back in school, there is more than a month of summer weather left and the threat of heatstroke remains.

So far this year, at least 14 children have died from heatstroke while being left unattended in vehicles across the country.

This includes a Columbus child, three-year-old Kendrick Engram, Jr., who was mistakenly left in a hot vehicle after a day of running errands with his grandmother and other siblings.

With school being back in session, everyone is changing into new routines that may offer new distractions.

Vehicles can heat up quickly, and it can be dangerous for a child or animal to be let inside a hot car for even a short time. In addition, a child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.

The Chattahoochee Valley, our Fountain City, is very hot in August. Just as it would in the summer, it carries over into the fall. So, we just want to ask you to do your diligence and not leave your children in the car,” said Pamela Fair, executive director of Safe Kids Columbus.

Organizers of the events say by simply remembering the acronym ACT, you can help prevent a death -- Avoid heatstroke, Create reminders and Take action.

You can avoid heatstroke-related injuries and deaths by never leaving a child in the car, ever, even if the window is cracked.

Be sure to make a note that all car doors are locked as well. According to data from Kids and Car Safety, 26% of child hot car deaths are unknowingly caused by a child gaining access to a car.

It’s important to create reminders to get in the habit of checking the back seat when leaving the car. For example, try to keep a stuffed animal or other mementos in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.

Or place and secure your phone, one of your shoes, a briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child, that way, you will always have a reason to check the backseat.

If you see a child left unattended in a car, take action -- call 911.

“If you look in a car and see that a child is in distress, then do whatever it is that you think you need to do to save the child,” says Pamela Fair.

For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, please click here.

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