Hot Weather And Vehicles Can Be A Deadly Combination For Kids
Thursday, June 28, 2012 News Release
Hot summer days across the country contributed to at least 33 child deaths in 2011 from heat stroke when children were left unattended in vehicles. Safe Kids Kansas reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars and always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.
"As these tragedies continue to occur, Safe Kids Kansas is intensifying our efforts to get the message out that the inside of a vehicle is an extremely dangerous place for a child alone in hot weather," said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “Even on a mild day, the inside of a car can become dangerously hot within minutes. Children are particularly susceptible to heat stroke because their bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults.”
More than 50 percent of the children who died from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle. Many believed they had already dropped their child off with a caregiver, not realizing the child was still in the vehicle. Although most would assume this would never happen to them, there is no common description of the caregiver that has experienced this tragedy. It has happened to the rich and poor, educated and less educated, women and men, city dwellers and suburbanites, and in all but one state.
Thirty percent of kids who died from hyperthermia were either intentionally left unattended by an adult or gained entry into an unlocked vehicle and became trapped and overcome by heat. Because it takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car, drivers must keep car doors locked and keys out of reach from young children.
Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near-misses by remembering to ACT.
• Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by:
1. Never leaving your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
2. Consistently locking unattended vehicle doors and trunks.
• Create reminders and habits that give you and your child’s caregiver a safety net:
1. Establish a peace-of-mind plan. When you drop off your child, make a habit of calling or texting all other caregivers, so all of you know where your child is at all times. Or ask your child care provider to call you if your child does not arrive for scheduled care.
2. Place a purse, briefcase, gym bag, cell phone or an item that is needed at your next stop in the back seat near your child.
3. Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
• Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle:
1. Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide – they are trained to determine if a child is in danger.