We may have all see the shocking video that surfaced on Social Media showing a child crying in an almost screaming manner after being alone; probably feeling suffocated as the windows are closed with no parent or guardian in sight.
What’s even worse is that the car was parked adjacent to a bar or a club. Did the parents dare to enjoy a few shots while leaving their child scared and alone? Regardless of the reason, leaving a child alone in the car can lead to a tragic death. Read on this article from Philkotse.com to understand further.
In the U.S. alone, an average of one child dies every nine days due to heat-related incidents after being trapped inside the car. Even more shocking is that 83 percent of reported vehicle heatstroke incidents involved children three years and younger.
Where temperatures can be unbearably hot, such as the Philippines, leaving a child alone inside the vehicle is the most irresponsible thing a parent or guardian can do.
Leaving a child alone inside the vehicle is the most irresponsible thing a parent or guardian can do
1. What happens if leaving your child alone in the car
To give you a mental image of what happens to a child or child’s health when he is left by himself inside a vehicle, here’s what will occur.
The Philippines has an average temperature of a 32 degree Celsius throughout the country. Since a car is a confined space, a staggering increase of 20 degrees Celsius in no less than 10 minutes will happen.
Since the child hasn’t developed its ability to cool down and regulate body heat, the child’s body will continue to absorb heat increases the risk of death from heat stroke.
The child’s body will continue to absorb heat increases the risk of death from heat stroke
>>> Also check out: SOS: My Child Got Locked In the Car!
2. What to do to ensure the child's safety while inside the car
First and foremost, you as a parent are responsible for your child’s safety. While parents are discouraged from leaving a child inside the car, here are some tips to ensure that your child is safe while in the vehicle.
Never leave a child alone or without adult supervision
If you need to run some errands, it is best if you bring the child along with you or leave the child with an adult such as the father, a family friend or a nanny. Even if it’s just a petty minute to visit the comfort room, bring along the child with you.
This is a more viable option than dealing with potential injuries or life-threatening situations. Always remember a lot can happen in a minute. Aside from putting your child’s life at risk, you also open opportunities for criminals to take advantage of the situation.
Leave the child with an adult such as the father, a family friend or a nanny
Make a habit of checking your child before leaving the vehicle
We get it, being a mom or a father can be overwhelming at times. With a lot of priorities and tasks to ponder, you may even forget that you have a child! As much as possible, make it a habit always to check everyone and every value you have inside; never forget those.
If possible, do a headcount of every family member that is in the vehicle with you.
Don't forget to check your child before leaving the car
Educate your older child to seek help and where to find it
There are situations when you need to have your elder son or daughter supervise the younger sibling. If this happens, educate your elder child about the heat-related symptoms and when to ask for help.
Whether it is a security guard on the nearby store or a stranger walking by, tell your older child that it is crucial to ask for help.
Leave your child on a daycare instead
If you have no one to leave your child with, shopping malls, centers, and other leisure areas have an intended play area where staff can focus on taking care of your child in urgent matters.
They can act as a babysitter and distract your child while you are running an errand. Just make sure or ask the help of a daycare staff to call you or remind you of what time do you intend to pick your child.
Just make sure or ask the help of a daycare staff to call you or remind you of what time do you intend to pick your child.
3. Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act in the Philippines
Fortunately, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the bill that would require vehicle owners to use specific or age-specified restraint systems whenever driving with a child. On March 12, 2019, Republic Act No. 11229 otherwise known as the “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act” has been signed and enacted.
The law states that it will be deemed unlawful on the part of the driver of any closed vehicle not to secure a child at all times. An age-specified restraint system shall be put on a child especially when the car or moving or traversing a highway, road or street.
>> Read more: Republic Act No. 11229 in the Philippines
When the child is below 12 years of age, he is not allowed to sit in the front of the vehicle unless he is at least 59 inches or 150 centimeters in height. At the same time, an age-specified restraint system shall always accommodate the child in a sitting position.
To minimize the injury brought to the child by an abrupt motion, collision or any other road-related incidents, the restraint system shall act by limiting the body's movement in response to an outside force.
National agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), and other related stakeholders and agencies shall promulgate the IRR relating to child restraint systems within six months after the act is on effect.
Republic Act No. 11229 also stated that children under 12 years old are no longer allowed to sit in the front seat
Campaigns, information dissemination and education regarding this act shall be the responsibility of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Department of Education (DepEd).
While siblings, grandparents, or other household members can help supervise a child, it is still the parents’ main responsibility to ensure the child’s safety and well being. Parents should always prioritize the welfare of their child, especially at a tender age since these children cannot tend or look after themselves.
Likewise, if you happen to witness a child being neglected by his parents, inform the authorities immediately so they can take action. The child needs it more than you think they do.