The Montana Children’s Trust Fund’s “Not Even for a Minute” campaign encourages parents and caregivers to never leave children unattended in or around vehicles. Leaving a child alone in a vehicle can lead to heatstroke, dehydration, overheating, hyperthermia, injury, abduction and even death. Temperatures have started to increase in Missoula and Grant Manager Melissa Lavinder says that can be a recipe for disaster.

“People think that if it is 76 degrees outside, your kid is going to be fine in the car, but temperature can heat up so fast inside your car,” Lavinder said. “It can get to 90 degrees within 10 minutes or 100 degrees within 20 minutes. Even if you plan on running inside really quick, you never know what kind of distractions you are going to hit.”

According to Lavinder, routines and distractions have even caused people to mistakenly leave children in cars. In an effort to prevent that from happening, she provided some tips for folks.

“One obvious one would be to keep your purse, briefcase or anything you need to take in to work or wherever you’re going, in the back seat with your child,” Lavinder said. “Keep your child visible in your rear view. If you’re taking your kid to childcare, you can set a reminder on your phone or computer. Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child hasn’t arrived.”

On average, a child dies every 10 days from heatstroke in a vehicle. If you see an unattended child in a car, dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.

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