Tricounty News

How hot is unsafe for kids in the car?



Minnesota State Patrol

Dear Trooper Kathy: My Sister left her kids in the car, for only a short time, when it was really hot. I was wondering, how hot is unsafe for kids?

Trooper Kathy Says: There are actually two wrongs here.

First: Never leave your children alone in the car, even for a SHORT while. Many times the SHORT trip turns out to be 15 minutes or longer.

The lazy days of summer have just begun. We have documented more than 100 nontraffic fatalities in the United States in less than 6 months. People's lives are being lost and we must all work together to end these preventable injuries and deaths. We have some excellent information to share with you and hope you pass this on to others.

¥ Heat Stress Reminder-Heat stroke deaths on the rise

¥ Nontraffic injuries and death peak in the summer months

Did you know that a person working in temperatures of 85 degrees with a relative humidity of 70 percent would be at a heat index in the extreme caution range, putting them at risk for heat-related disorders? This is just one example of a temperature and humidity combination that could cause a problem.

With the outdoor temperature forecasted to be in the upper 80s, heat stress is a real concern. Working in these hot and humid environments can lead to heat disorders ranging from the relatively mild condition of heat fatigue to the very serious condition of heat stroke.

If you are working in environments (outdoors or in unconditioned indoor environments) you should have plans in place that address prevention of heat related disorders. Plans may include such things as verification that people remain well hydrated and that additional rest breaks in cool areas are available. People should also be trained on recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-related disorders for themselves and others.

Heat stroke deaths on the rise

Just last month there were seven vehicular heat-stroke deaths nationwide. Already in 2010, we have documented at least 18 vehicular heat-stroke deaths. So what can you do? Below are a couple of very simple proactive tips that can help prevent these tragedies.

¥ Lock your car ... and tell your family and friends to lock their vehicles, especially if they are in the driveway or garage. Many children have climbed into an unlocked vehicle, become trapped, and were overcome by the heat causing their death.

¥ Look before you lock ... put your cell phone, employee badge or lunch on the floor board in front of your child. Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to ensure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit.

¥ Be nosy ... look into vehicles in parking lots to ensure a baby has not been left behind. If you do see a child in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.

Nontraffic injuries and death peek in the summer months

In 2010, nationally we have documented over 100 nontraffic fatalities in less than six months. There have been 35 frontovers, 32 backovers, and 18 heat-related fatalities. Kids are home from school and everyone is outside and underfoot. Please walk all the way around your vehicle before moving it and make sure all children are being properly supervised before you put the vehicle into gear.

If you have any questions regarding traffic safety and/or traffic laws, please e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sgt. Pederson will not offer advice on specific situations or real events, which involve law enforcement.