Brought to you by Cheshire Medical Center

The summer months can mean family car trips. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following tips for keeping kids safe around cars as well as some recommendations for what to have in an emergency roadside kit.

Keeping kids safe in and around the car

Awareness of the dangers to children in and around cars can saves lives. One of those dangers is hyperthermia, or heatstroke. Heatstroke can occur when a child is left unattended in a parked vehicle or gains unsupervised access.

Never leave children alone in the car—not even for a few minutes or with the engine running. Vehicles heat up quickly; if the outside temperature is in the low 80s°, the temperature inside the vehicle can reach deadly levels in just a few minutes—even with a window rolled down. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than that of an adult.

When children play, they are often oblivious to cars and trucks around them. They may believe that motorists will watch out for them. Before you back out of a driveway or parking spot, prevent back-overs by walking around your vehicle to check for children running and playing.

When using a backup camera, remember that kids, pets and objects may still be out of view but in the path of your vehicle. Furthermore, every vehicle has a blind zone. As the size and height of a vehicle increases, so does the “blind zone” area. Large vehicles, trucks, SUVs, RVs, and vans, are more likely than cars to be involved in back-overs.

Be sure to lock your vehicle’s doors at all times when it’s not in use. Put the keys somewhere that children can’t get to them. Children who enter vehicles on their own with no adult supervision can be killed or injured by power windows, seat belt entanglement, vehicle rollaway, heat stroke or trunk entrapment.

Suggested contents of an emergency roadside kit

Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down, so it’s advisable to put together an emergency roadside kit to carry with you. A cell phone tops the list of suggested emergency kit contents since it allows you to call for help when and where you need it. Suggested emergency roadside kit contents:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
  • Work gloves and a change of clothes
  • Basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak)
  • Water and paper towels for cleaning up
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Maps
  • Emergency blankets, towels and coats