Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington teen Josie Thompson, 17, is sounding the alarm about parents who leave their children in hot cars unattended. Thompson is a Girl Scout in Troop #2375 in Lexington and preventing this from ever occurring either intentionally or unintentionally is what her Girl Scout Gold Award Project is all about.
Thompson said as hard as it is to understand, some parents do accidentally leave their children in hot cars. Often, the parents lead busy lives and are rushing to work or some other destination. If their routine has been altered, their brain may process the old routine causing confusion with who has the child that day. If the child falls asleep or is sitting in a rear facing child seat in the back, the parent may simply forget they had the child. If the child isn’t moving or making some noise, this can and does happen. There are also perils associated with leaving a child in a car to run in anywhere for even a second. Recently, a mother did this while she just ran in to pay for gas. A thief stole the car with the child in it. Thompson says that whether the car is running or not, there’s never a time that it’s right to leave a child in a car.
Beside the obvious issue of someone taking off in your car, the most dangerous threat to your child is how fast the interior of a car gets hot. According to Thompson’s research, even on a sunny 70-degree day, after just 30 minutes, a car’s internal temperature will rise to 104 degrees. It’s not safe for your child or any living thing.
If a child is left in the heat, they may have a heat stroke. A person who gets heat stroke may have confusion, agitation, nausea, vomiting, and even a loss of consciousness. If a child has a seizure or is unconsciousness, you should immediately Dial 911. First aid experts advise against giving overheated people who have a seizure or lose consciousness anything to drink. Experts say they may choke.
In order to help parents be more aware of this problem and its prevention, Thompson developed a window cling she’s giving away. These are like stickers but peel off easily over and over. She’s asking that parents put these in their line of sight on the car’s windows. It serves as a reminder they are carrying precious cargo.
Right now, Thompson is handing out the clings to people she knows who have children. She is working to partner with law enforcement agencies across the county to build a better distribution network. If you want a window cling, or you need more information about Project Precious Cargo, e-mail Josie at firstname.lastname@example.org.