6 ways to prevent hot car deaths — even during a monsoon

It seems obvious: Want to prevent hot car deaths in one of the hottest metro areas in the nation? Don’t leave your kids in the car.

You get sidetracked, though, and forget it was your turn to drive to daycare that day. Or maybe you underestimated how much time you’d be stuck waiting in line at the store.

More than three dozen children die of hyperthermia in cars annually in the United States, and since 1998 more than 500 children have died in hot cars. Heatstroke can happen when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees, and car interiors can reach well over 110 degrees even when the outside temperature is in the 60s.

In Las Vegas, the average temperature throughout the summer is above 100 degrees, peaking at an average of 106 degrees in July. Even a thunderstorm won’t often help the temperature dip into the double digits, but the clouds and moisture can make it easy to forget that stuffy vehicles are dangerous places for children and pets after even a few minutes.

Here are some tips from safety advocates on avoiding accidental deaths in hot cars:

  • Never leave children alone in a vehicle to run even a short errand. Use drive-thru windows at banks, dry cleaners and restaurants whenever possible. Use a debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.
  • Put a purse, cellphone or other item you will need in the back seat of your car. This will ensure that you check the back seat before leaving the vehicle.
  • Make a habit of opening the back door of your car and checking the back seat whenever you exit it.
  • Keep a stuffed animal or toy in your child’s unoccupied car seat. Put that item in the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a reminder that the child is in the back of the car.
  • If a child is missing, immediately check the car, including the trunk.
  • If you see a young child who is unresponsive or in great distress alone in a hot vehicle, get the child out and call 911.

Reviewjournal.com contributed to this report.