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5/25/16news article

ACT to keep children safe from hot cars

Eight children have died so far this year alone across the country after being trapped in hot cars and it’s only May, long before the true heat of the summer kicks in. It’s time to take steps now to make sure this never happens to you and your family.

More than half of the children who die in a hot car were forgotten by a parent. While it’s easy to say “I would never forget my child,” it’s easier than most parents think, especially in today’s busy world, full of distractions. It’s something that no one likes to admit, but acknowledging that fact allows parents to put protective measures in place to protect their child.

Every ten days in the United States a child dies in a hot car. Since 1998, more than 600 children have died from being left in hot cars. Last year, 24 children across the nation suffered heatstroke deaths in this way.

Even with seemingly mild weather, the temperatures inside a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. “A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body,” says Jessica Saunders, director of Dayton Children’s Center for Child Health and Wellness.

“Heatstroke occurs which the body loses its ability to regulate its own temperature,” says Patricia Abboud, MD, pediatric intensivist at Dayton Children’s and a member of the Dayton Children’s Dr. Mom Squad. “If left untreated, body temperature can soar to 106º F (41.1º C) or even higher, leading to brain damage or even death. Prompt medical treatment is essential to bring the body temperature under control.”

Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton want to remind you that together, we can reduce the number of heatstroke deaths and close calls by remembering to ACT.

  • A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it, so kids don’t get in on their own.
  • C: Create reminders by putting something on the backseat of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
  • 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.

Fast facts:

  • Children die as a result of being left unattended in a vehicle in one of three ways:
    • 54% - child was “forgotten” by caregiver.
    • 29% - child was playing in an unattended vehicle and became trapped.
    • 17% - child was intentionally left alone when a parent runs a quick errand.
  • For every child who dies, hundreds more are rescued.

“These tragedies are absolutely heartbreaking, and a reminder for all of us to be aware of the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car,” says Jessica Saunders, director for Dayton Children’s Center for Child Health and Wellness. “Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get and cracking the window doesn’t help.”

Additional prevention information can be found at www.safekids.org/heatstroke, and statistics on child heatstroke deaths can be found at www.noheatstroke.org.

For more safety information, please visit www.safekids.org.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Porter
Public relations manager
Phone: 937-641-3666
newsroom@childrensdayton.org