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Carrie Underwood's scary moment over the weekend, when her dogs managed to lock themselves and her 4-month-old in the car on a warm day, had a happy ending: She just had her brother-in-law break the window.
But children and pets getting left in hot cars is a serious danger in warm months. According to KidsandCars.com, 32 children died of heatstroke in cars in 2014. And it doesn't even take a hot day to make a car deadly: Temperatures in the low 80s can turn a vehicle into a hotbox in 10 minutes.
So what do you do if your child (or pet) is locked inside with you outside? Here are some basic tips, if you don't have a spare set of keys:
- Call 911
- While waiting, cover the windows to keep the car from heating up so fast
- If you break the car window, do it far away from the child
Children are more susceptible than adults to heatstroke, says Dr. Kay Leaming-Van Zandt of Texas Children's Hospital.
"Children's regulatory systems aren't quite developed yet, and so their ability to produce sweat is diminished ... versus adults," she told TODAY.
Unfortunately, many children are accidentally left behind in vehicles, so if you park your baby in the back seat one recommendation to avoid forgetting them is this: Use a stuffed animal. Put the animal in the front seat next to the driver when the baby is on board, so you have a visual cue that they're back there and need to be removed when exiting.
Fortunately, all ended well for Underwood, who was left with a safe baby and pets ... and just a window repair bill.