FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) – The Kentucky State Police is warning parents about the dangers of hot cars.
The safety organization “Kids and Cars” says 44 children died in 2017 as a result of being left in a hot car. Those instances include times where a child was forgotten in a car, accidentally locked themselves in a car, or, in a small number of cases, intentionally left in a car.
“The most dangerous mistake a parent can make is to think leaving a child alone in their car could never happen to them,” says KSP spokesman Sgt. Josh Lawson. “In these fast-paced times, it is easy for parents to get distracted and forget their child is in the car with them.”
“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than that of an adult,” adds Lawson. “The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in 10 minutes. Depending on the circumstances, an infant could die of hyperthermia in just 15 minutes on a 75-degree day.”
Kentucky passed “Bryan’s Law” in 2000, which makes a person liable for second-degree manslaughter or first-degree wanton endangerment for leaving a child younger than eight years old in a motor vehicle where circumstances pose a grave risk of death. The law was named after 11-month old Bryan Puckett, who died July 13, 1999 after being left in a hot car by his babysitter.
Lawson offers the following safety tips:
-Never leave a child in an unattended car, even with the windows down.
-Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
-Always lock your car. If a child is missing, check the car first, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
-Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver as a reminder.
-Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
-Make ‘look before you leave’ a routine whenever you get out of the car.
KSP asks citizens to keep an eye out for children left in vehicles on hot days and to call 911 if they think the occupant is in danger.