Preventing Tennessee Tragedy: Don’t Leave Kids in Hot Cars

With eight such heatstroke deaths in the U.S. already this year, parents in Tennessee and nationwide are being reminded never to leave children inside a vehicle unattended. Photo credit: Inga Munsinger Cotton/Flickr.

With eight such heatstroke deaths in the U.S. already this year, parents in Tennessee and nationwide are being reminded never to leave children inside a vehicle unattended. Photo credit: Inga Munsinger Cotton/Flickr.

With the Fourth of July holiday now in the books, it’s straight ahead to Tennessee’s hottest days of summer and parents are being reminded of the dangers when it comes to children, vehicles and heatstroke. There are children every year who die after being left in the heat in a vehicle unattended and while the voices that follow always exclaim, ‘Not me.’ Janette Fennell, president and founder with KidsandCars.org, says… “The worst mistake you can make is to think that this can’t happen to you or someone in your family,” says Fennell. “We are human and sometimes, our memories let us down. So, if we realize that everyone is capable of having something like this happen to them, we will put the correct safety measures into place.” Fennell says those safety measures include always looking before you lock or leaving an important item, such as a cell phone or handbag, in the back seat so you have to open the back door to retrieve it every time you park. On average, 38 children die each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. While most of those deaths are from parents leaving or forgetting their child is in the back seat, Fennell says about a third are children who climb into a parked car unnoticed. So, she says you should always keep your vehicle locked even if it’s in your driveway or garage. “Another thing that’s very important is to make sure you have keys that are out of reach of children,” she says. “So many of them have remote openers and the kids want to use those and they make noises and the trunk pops open and all of those fun things. But it could be a death sentence in the hands of a child.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, temperatures inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in only 10 minutes and even with an outside temperature of just 60, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees.