Media Release: Hot Cars and Children Do Not Mix

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Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car - Not Even for a Minute

Hot Cars and Children Do Not Mix

05-24-2011 (Dayton, OH) -

Safe Kids Greater Dayton and Dayton Children’s is working to increase awareness and urge caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle.  Unfortunately, though it is only May, the first heat stroke fatalities have already occurred. With the goal of having no more children die from heat stroke when they are “forgotten” in cars, safety experts and child advocates remind parents and caregivers to always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.

Between 1998 and 2010, 497 children died from heat stroke because they were unattended in vehicles that became too hot for them to survive.

“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s and unattended children have no way of protecting themselves in a hot vehicle” says Jessica Saunders, Safe Kids Greater Dayton Coordinator and injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children’s.

“The overall goal of the campaign we are launching today is to make sure no more children will die in 2011 because they were unattended in a vehicle. We want parents and caregivers to take precautions so that this tragedy does not happen to them.” 

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. 

When left unattended by an adult, 30 percent of affected kids gained entry into an unlocked vehicle, became trapped and were overcome by heat. 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.

Safe Kids USA, Safe Kids Greater Dayton and Dayton Children’s urge all adults to take the following seven steps:

  1. Call 911 if they see a child unattended in a vehicle. 
  2. Never leave children alone in a vehicle - even for a minute.
  3. Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you drop your child off at daycare.
  4. Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of the child in a back seat.  This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child before leaving.
  5. Set your computer Microsoft Outlook e-mail program to ask you, “Did you drop off your child at daycare today?”
  6. Have a plan with your child care provider to call if your child does not arrive when expected.   
  7. Check cars and trunks first if a child goes missing. 

Never leave your child alone in a vehicle. For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths, visit and

About Safe Kids Greater Dayton
Safe Kids Greater Dayton works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Safe Kids Greater Dayton is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Greater Dayton was founded in 1994 and is led by The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton.

For more information, contact:
Marketing Communications Department
Phone: 937-641-3666


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