Talking About Child Safety in Hot Cars in New Mexico
Many parents and caregivers can tell you with certainty that they would never forget a child in a hot car. Yet it happens more often than you might think, and it isn’t always because of the negligence of a caregiver. Over 36 children die from heat stroke in hot cars in the United States every year. Many of these cases are caused by forgetting that the child is in the car. Yet, a small child can get into an unlocked vehicle on their own and become trapped. Then, there are the cases where childcare providers make the ultimate mistake. Just last month, two small children were left in a hot car, while in the care of a home daycare in New Mexico. One child died, and the other was in critical condition. So, what can you do to ensure child safety in hot cars in the New Mexico summer heat?
New Mexico Has One of the Hottest Summer Climates in the US
Anyone who has experienced New Mexico in the summer is well aware of how hot it can get. The average highs from May to September are:
- May: 74 degrees
- June: 83 degrees
- July: 86 degrees
- August: 83 degrees
- September: 78 degrees
Of course, these are just the averages. The temperatures can get far higher than this, particularly in the hotter parts of the state. Yet, a child can die in a hot car even if it is only 60 degrees outside. This is because the temperature of a closed vehicle rises quickly. In fact, within 10 minutes, the temperature of a car can go up by 20 degrees. It just keeps increasing, and once it hits 104 degrees, heat stroke is likely. At 107 degrees, death is likely. Infants and small children are most at risk because they often can’t do anything to save themselves.
Tips to Ensure Child Safety in Hot Cars in New Mexico
There are many things ways to prevent your child from being left in a hot car. There are also things you can do to ensure that your small child knows what to do in case they ever end up forgotten or trapped in a hot car. For starters, you have to be aware of the risk, and of how different factors increase the risk. If your routine has changed, if you are distracted, if there are more kids in your care than usual, or even if you are exhausted, then you are more likely to forget a child. This is especially true if the child is quiet or sleeping. Following are some steps that you can take to avoid making this critical error:
- Take off one of the child’s shoes and hold it in your lap while you drive (or hold one of their toys). This will help you remember, when getting out of the car, that the child is there.
- Make a habit of opening your back doors when you get out of the car, even when children aren’t with you.
- Never assume that someone else is helping a child out of the car. Always check for yourself.
- Always lock your doors when you get out of the vehicle. This will ensure that your children and other children do not get into your vehicle and find themselves trapped.
If you have a toddler or young child, then there are steps you can take to ensure that your child knows what to do in case they ever are trapped in a hot car. Teach them the following:
- How to unbuckle and get out of their child seats.
- How to work the locks and handles in the car.
- To honk the horn to get someone’s attention.
- To never get into any vehicle without permission.
How Else Can You Ensure Child Safety in Hot Cars in New Mexico?
In July of 2017, the US saw a record number of child deaths in hot cars. This has led many to think of solutions to this growing problem. One New Mexico teenager invented a hot seat alarm system. The teenager, Alissa Chavez from Albuquerque, New Mexico, invented ‘The Hot Seat,’ which raised over $20,000 on Indiegogo, when she was 17. You simply place a small mat under the cushion of the child’s car seat. It sends an alert to your phone if you walk away while a child is in the car. You can purchase the Hot Seat for $79.99 at babyhotseat.com.
Then, there are products like the Evenflo Advanced Embrace with SensorSafe infant car seat, which you can buy from Walmart for $120 to $150. The car seat has sensors that will alert you with a special alarm if the child is still buckled in the seat when you turn off the ignition.
Summer in New Mexico can be a lot of fun. You can make amazing memories. But it can also be dangerous. We want you and your family to stay safe this summer, so remember these tips and take precautions to ensure child safety in hot cars in New Mexico. Whether you’re going camping in New Mexico, planning to enjoy a nature hike, or going on a Southwest road trip, keep your family safe!