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Be aware of hot car dangers, parents and guardians urged

05/27/2022

DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education offers tips for keeping children safe

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — With summer nearing, temperatures rising, and routines changing as the school year ends, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) is reminding parents and guardians about the dangers of hot cars.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under 15 in the United States. Cars heat up quickly on warm days, and children’s body temperatures also rise more quickly than adults. This makes it particularly dangerous if a child is left in a hot car even for a short period of time.

According to the website noheatstroke.org, 910 children have died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States since 1998, including 18 in Arkansas.

“These tragedies are entirely preventable. Every parent and guardian need to know about the dangers of hot cars, and they should take steps to make sure their child is never endangered by this situation,” said DCCECE Director Tonya Williams. “Don’t assume this would never happen to you. Instead, make plans to never leave a child alone in a vehicle, to always check the backseat, and to immediately call 911 if you ever see a child alone in a hot car.”

The AAP has additional tips to help parents and guardians keep their children safe. They include:

•    Look in the backseat and make sure no children are there before leaving the vehicle.
•    Ask your child care provider to call you if your child is more than 10 minutes later on a given day.
•    Put a personal item like a cellphone or briefcase in the backseat so you’ll have to access that area when you arrive at your destination.
•    Keep your car locked when it is parked. This can prevent a curious child from entering or getting trapped inside on a hot day. Keep your car keys out of children’s reach to prevent them from unlocking it and entering.
•    Teach children that cars are not safe for play and should never be used in games like hide-and-seek.

Additional safety tips are available on the Academy’s website, healthychildren.org.

In an effort to get this information to as many Arkansans as possible, DHS has created the graphics below. These are available for media or organizations to use, and they will also be shared on the DHS social media channels and digital bulletin boards in offices across the state, and provided to partners to distribute through their networks. 

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