Summer is approaching, and along with fun in the sun comes the risks of heat. Vehicles can become a dangerous place given that the interior temperature of a car can rise up to 50 degrees in the sun. Here are some simple tips to help ensure your child is safe in the car this summer.

1. Keep a purse, briefcase, or backpack in the backseat.

Sometimes, the thing that is on your mind is what needs immediate attention. That could mean errands, work or school. Placing things you know you will not forget or will come back for near your child will ensure that they are among the things you remember.

2. Keep your child’s favorite toy or blanket in the front.

Simple reminders can be a life saver when you have a child. Seeing objects that you know your child will want sparks up their presence in your mind, reminding you that they are with you.

3. Keep your vehicle locked so your child isn’t able to get in.

It is no secret that children have minds of their own. Because kids tend to wander, it is important to keep your child close when you are outside of the car, and keep the car locked so that your child is not able to enter the car without you knowing.

4. Keep the keys out of your child’s reach.

Kids are curious creatures. They love to pick up things that catch their eyes. However, it is well known that not everything that looks interesting to kids is safe. While keys do not in and of themselves pose an immediate danger, the child could very easily lock themselves inside the car without you. You do not want the keys locked in the car with your child in it.

5. When you are with your child, use the drive-thru whenever possible.

It may seem more efficient to go inside by yourself to get food when you are with a child. However, a car’s interior heats up very quickly. If the option of a drive-thru window is made available, make use of that service so you are able to maintain an air-conditioned car with your child. If there is no drive-thru, take your child inside with you or do not go in at all.

6. When you are getting gas, pay at the pump.

Paying at the pump makes the whole process of getting gas quicker. It also means that you are able to keep an eye on your child the entire time and check for signs of overheating.

7. Have the sitter call after a given time if the child has not arrived.

As parents, distractions are a given. Having someone who is focused on the arrival of your child is extremely helpful. In the event that it slips your mind, this will give you a backup that will alert you when something is off.

8. If your child is missing, check your vehicle first.

Your car is a comfortable, familiar place for your child. If you cannot find your child, it is likely that they have entered the car without you knowing.

9. If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911.

In full sun, the internal temperature of a car can rise 50 degrees. Leaving children in a hot car can prove fatal especially in the hot El Paso sun.

Summer is a fun time for the whole family. Don’t let one mistake ruin a lifetime of fun in the sun. Remember, never leave children in or around cars, not even for a minute.

– Brontë Procell