FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) -- Kentucky State Police is reminding parents to be extremely cautious about leaving children in hot cars. It may seem like common sense, but statistics show that these deaths are on the rise in the U.S.
According to the safety organization Kids and Cars, 52 children died in 2018 of hyperthermia as a result of being left in a hot car.
This is nearly a 21 percent increase over 2017 death totals, in which Kentucky accounted for three of those.
KSP spokesman Sergeant Josh Lawson says vehicular heat stroke is often misunderstood by the general public.
“The most dangerous mistake a parent can make is to think leaving a child alone in their car could never happen to them,” says Lawson. “In these fast-paced times, it is easy for parents to get distracted and forget their child is in the car with them.”
Kentucky State Police offer the following safety tips:
- Never leave a child in an unattended car, even with the windows down.
- Make it a habit of opening the rear door of the car every time you park to ensure no one is left inside. To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without such as a purse, briefcase, employee badge, phone, etc.
- When at home, keep your vehicle locked at all times, even in the garage.
- Never leave keys within reach of children.
- If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area.
Lawson says while a person will face criminal charges for leaving a child in a car, the pain and guilt from making such a devastating mistake will last far longer.
KSP is asking citizens to keep an eye out for children left in vehicles on hot days and to call 911 if they see an unaccompanied child in distress.