On an average summer day, temperatures of only 60 degrees can reach
potentially deadly levels within just minutes. The heat is more
dangerous to a child than an adult. When left in a hot vehicle, a
child's core body temperature rises three to five times faster than
an adult's. This is extremely dangerous, considering children are
more susceptible to brain damage and death in these very high
temperatures. The vehicle interior is another danger; some parts in
a car can reach high temperatures faster and then circulate this
heat throughout the rest of the vehicle.
If you are still not
convinced, know that it is also against the law! Illinois law
states: "A person commits the offense of endangering the life or
health of a child if he or she leaves a child unattended in a motor
vehicle. Unattended means either (i) not accompanied by a person 14
years of age or older; or (ii) if accompanied by a person 14 years
of age or older, out of sight of that person."
A violation of this law can result in a misdemeanor and a fine,
or even a felony and jail time!
Tips to be safe:
Plan ahead to use
drive-through services where available, such as pharmacies and
banks. Search the Internet to help you find convenient
drive-through services in your area.
Call dry cleaners
and other businesses to schedule pickup and drop-off services at
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children off at day care and school, make sure the school-aged
child goes with you into the day care center.
Use your debit or
credit card at the gas pump.
Ask grocery store
clerks to load your bags into your vehicle and return the
baby-sitting co-op with your neighbor to give you an hour to run
errands. Remind yourself that you have a child in the vehicle by
placing your purse or briefcase in the back seat, so that when
you get out, you will have to get into the back seat.
If you find a child in a parked car,
make sure to call the police. If the child is safe, wait for the
parents or caregiver to return to the vehicle if you can.
However, if you feel a child is in danger of heatstroke, get air
to him or her, even if a window needs to be broken.
[Text from file received from
County Health Department]