PHOENIX -- The brutal Arizona summer can turn deadly quickly, particularly for those unable to help themselves. The essential message is clear: Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. But it happens every year.
Psychologists say that people can be carrying out a routine task on autopilot while focusing on other things and just forget. Plus if someone else takes over your routine pattern, the risks are greater for something to go wrong.
Simple reminders placed somewhere out of pattern can save lives.
- Place a collar or leash on the rearview mirror.
- Put a diaper, bib, toy or treat on the dashboard
- Put your purse, billfold or cell phone in the back seat.
A child's body temperature climbs three to five times faster than an adult's, especially in a hot car. In less than 20 minutes, the temperature inside a car can increase 30 degrees, which can cause heat stroke.
A fun and educational tool for children, adults and caregivers is a Life-Meter™ decal thermometer. Display this decal to show how fast the inside temperature can change and how dangerous it is to leave them alone.
Developed by a Phoenix company called Paperhouse Co. LLC, the Life-Meter is a public education awareness tool only.
"With a Life-Meter on your car window it will provide a non offensive reminder to child caregivers who may have left a child unattended in a vehicle," according to the company's website. "This product provides a clear message to parents and child caregivers to not forget children in the car."
Tips for summer car safety
Don't leave your child or pet in a car with the air conditioning running. The air conditioning compressor can shut down if the engine gets too hot and blow hot air into the car.
Check key areas of vehicle monthly. Tires, rubber hoses, wiper blades, fluids and battery.
Items to have available in case you break down. Carry plenty of water, a cooler with ice, ice packs, sun screen, cool loose clothing, towels, blankets, umbrellas for shade, drinking cups, a small car-battery-powered fan and jumper cables are some items to have on hand.
If your vehicle breaks down, protect against heat stroke. For children, apply a damp cool towel to the back of the neck and aim the battery powered fan at them to cool. For pets, offer water to drink, then gently spray or apply cool, tepid water. Do not use ice water, ice baths or apply ice. You can also apply wet, cool towels along a dog's chest, abdomen, between its legs and around the neck. Also, fan to cool.
Check seat belts and harness. Have them checked to make sure they are working properly. Children 5 - 8 years old or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall, should be riding in belt-positioning booster seats in the back seat. Keep animals secured in the car inside a ventilated animal crate or in a pet-safety harness.
Cool down your vehicle before loading your precious cargo.
Hot asphalt. Children can kick off their shoes and be in a hurry to get outside and forget how hot the ground is. Veterinarians see too many dogs with burnt paw pads. Carry them or purchase extreme all weather boots for them to wear.
Install a side window shade. Keeping it cooler and protecting their eyes as well as allowing your child or pet to see outside.
Carry a first aid kit. Sunscreen, bandages in different sizes, Benadryl, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, sterile saline (contact lens solution), roll gauze and gauze sponges, tweezers, multi-tool with scissors and adhesive tape.
Emergency numbers of police, highway patrol and your mechanic written down in the owner's manual of your vehicle in case your cell phone battery runs down.
Until June 30, stop by Desert Car Care of Chandler, 95 N. Dobson Road, for a $27 "Hot Temps A/C Safety Inspection," which includes a check of your air conditioning system, battery, rubber hoses and belts, tires, fluids, and install a Life-Meter™ inside the vehicle.
If you would like to order a Life-Meter™, call 1-866-471-2529. For more information visit www.desertcarcare.com.