SACRAMENTO, CALIF., June 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- During California summers, the dangers for children being seriously injured or even dying after being left unattended inside a hot car rise as fast as the temperature. The California Office of Traffic Safety is cautioning parents and care givers that hyperthermia (heatstroke) can become a dangerous reality, even after just a few minutes of a child being left alone in a car.
"Even on a 60 degree day, a car's internal temperature can skyrocket and reach well above 110 degrees in just a few minutes," said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. "It's important that children are never left unattended in a vehicle for any amount of time, even with cracked windows, which do little to keep the car cool."
Just 10 minutes in hot sun can raise the internal temperature of a car by nearly 20 degrees, over 30 degrees in a half hour, and nearly 45 degrees in an hour. Children's body heat regulatory systems are less efficient than an adult's, allowing them to overheat 3 to 5 times faster. Injuries due to hyperthermia in hot cars can cause ailments including permanent brain injury, blindness and the loss of hearing, among others.
Hyperthermia deaths and injuries often occur after a child gets into an unlocked vehicle to play without a parent's knowledge. Other incidents can occur when a parent or care giver encounters a break in normal routine, inadvertently forgetting a sleeping infant in a rear-facing car seat in the back of the vehicle. Whether a child is left unattended in a car with or without the driver's knowledge, it's still a crime in California. Senate Bill 255, also known as Kaitlyn's Law, was enacted in 2001 and makes it illegal to leave children unattended in a motor vehicle.
To help parents and guardians follow the law and keep their children safe year-round, OTS is offering the following prevention tips and reminders:
By following these simple tips and reminders, you can ensure that you are taking the right steps to keeping your children as safe as possible. For more safety tips and information on OTS campaign efforts, please visit the OTS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS or follow OTS on Twitter @OTS_CA. For more information on all OTS efforts, visit www.ots.ca.gov
Chris Cochran (916) 509-3063