As the heat of summer reaches full blast, it is imperative that parents and childcare providers take extra precautions to guard children from heatstroke and other heat-related injuries and death. During the hot summer months, the inside of a vehicle can reach 125 degrees within minutes, with 80% of the increase in temperature occurring during the first 10 minutes. Because children’s bodies overheat three to five times faster than adults’ bodies, leaving a child in a hot car even for a matter of minutes can be deadly.
This was tragically illustrated last month when a five-year-old boy was found dead inside a daycare van in Arkansas. Police said that the boy was found dead, strapped in a booster seat, more than eight hours after being picked up by the daycare van as staff members prepared to load the van for children to go home. The heat index on the day the incident occurred was near 100 degrees.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services stated that all child care service providers in the state must follow certain safety requirements, including installing child safety alarm devices in vehicles used to transport more than seven passengers. The alarm systems are to be installed in such a way that the driver is required to walk to the back of the vehicle to reach a switch that deactivates the alarm. The agency reported that a monitor inspected the daycare van in question in February and found that the alarm system was in working order. Further, the daycare facility in question had also been rated “highly compliant” with state safety rules and regulations.