A new group of Iowans calling itself TYKES is urging parents to take steps to ensure kids aren’t left alone in a car. Jenny McCoy, a member of the TYKES steering committee, says TYKES stands for “Take Your Kids: Ensure Their Safety.”McCoy says at this time of year, there’s a terrible danger in leaving kids in a hot car. McCoy put a thermometer in her car at five o’clock one afternoon last week, and the thermometer shot to over 100 degrees within 15 minutes. McCoy says that intense heat is a stress for anyone, but especially for a young child because their tiny bodies can’t handle the heat. McCoy says there are so many modern conveniences, like “pay at the pump” at the gas station and drive-through windows for fast food and even prescription drugs that it’s no longer necessary to leave children alone in cars. She says kids left alone in a vehicle can also get tangled up in seatbelts, get strangled by a power window, and even be kidnapped when left alone in a car. McCoy says kids can put a car into gear, and that could cause harm to both the kids and others. The TYKES group recommends that you keep a car locked whenever it’s in the driveway to ensure kids don’t crawl inside. Kids and Cars, a national group that tracks child deaths in cars, found over 100 children died in 2002 because they’d been left alone in or around a vehicle. At the end of June in 2001, a Perry woman who was the administrator of a hospital left her child alone in the family’s minivan all day. The seven-month-old child died. Kari Engholm was later found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and neglect of a dependent child.
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