Hot summer days have contributed to 2 child deaths so far this year in the United States as a result of heatstroke, which can happen when kids are unattended in cars. Safe Kids Guilford County reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle, and if you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Since 1998, at least 942 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when alone in a vehicle.
"A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Leigha Jordan, Safe Kids Guilford County. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why Safe Kids Guilford County is asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”
Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.
C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.