KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Experts are reminding moms and dads to be extra careful and never leave your little one alone in your hot car. It’s a life-saving message tonight for parents getting in their cars with their children this summer.
Experts say putting a stuffed animal in the front seat of your car can be a life-saving reminder that your child is in the back seat.
As she locks her three-month-old baby, Kathleen, in her car seat, Erin Wiesner of Kansas City says keeping her newborn safe on this hot summer day is her top priority.
“I think the more that we can do to educate parents the better off everybody’s going to be,” said Wiesner.
KidsAndcars.org is a nine-year-old, national organization that’s headquartered in Kansas City.
Two years ago the non-profit launched a program called “Look Before You Lock.”
The idea is to encourage more parents to keep a stuffed animal in their child’s car seat, and when it’s time to take off this summer, place it on the front seat as a reminder that your baby’s in the back seat.
“I’m more often in the car on my own and so when I have her it’s probably a higher risk of me leaving her, so it is a scary thing to think about,” said Wiesner.
“The out of sight out of mind thing sounds so horrible, but it can happen to anybody,” said Amber Rollins of KidsAndCars.org.
So far this year 13 children nationwide have suffered heat stroke and died while accidentally being left alone in a sweltering car.
Experts say research shows new parents especially suffer from exhaustion due to lack of sleep, stress and changes in their normal routine.
Changes amber Rollins with KidsAndCars.org says can cause a mom or dad’s memory to fail, and the parents forget they left their child in their hot car.
“You can’t see them. They fall asleep. You can’t hear them, so we’ve got to set some type of reminder for ourselves,” said Rollins.
Doctor Atif Ali at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence says at no time should a parent leave their little one alone in a hot car, which can quickly heat up, putting the child in danger.
“I wouldn’t even leave them for one second because if you’re thinking you’re going to be leaving them in there for one second, you’ll get something, who knows if time gets away from you, you’re not thinking, one second could turn in to five or 10 minutes and that’s all it takes,” said Dr. Ali.
A lot of hospitals will actually give new moms stuffed animals for free as part of the “Look Before You Lock Program.”
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