June 17, 2011
With warm weather and summer vacation just around the corner, and our
first warm weather of the year possible this weekend, Safe Kids Maine
reminds families about child deaths from heat stroke.
Safe Kids coalitions throughout the nation have joined with Safe Kids
USA and General Motors Foundation to launch the “Never Leave Your Child
Alone in a Car” education and awareness program to help reduce the
number of child deaths in cars and trucks caused by heat stroke.
Regrettably, the first heartbreak of the year occurred March 8 when a
mother unintentionally left her child in the car and went to work.
Safe Kids USA conservatively estimates that there are 1,000-2,000
near-misses every month. Forty-nine children died in 2010 while left
unattended in cars—the worst year on record. Child deaths from heat
stroke have occurred as early as February and with an outside
temperature as low as 57 degrees F. It’s important that parents and
caregivers need to know why this occurs and what to do to prevent it.
Take Immediate Action. The body temperature of children rises 3-5 times faster than adults, and as a result, children are much more vulnerable to heat stroke.
Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble. Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child is missing.
Lock Cars and Trucks. Thirty percent of the recorded heat stroke deaths in the US occurred because a child was playing in an unattended vehicle. These deaths can be prevented by simply locking the vehicle doors to assure that kids don’t enter the vehicles and become trapped.
Create Reminders. Many child heat stroke deaths occur because parents and caregivers become distracted and exit their vehicle without their child. To help prevent these tragedies parents can:
♦ Place a cell phone, purse, briefcase, gym bag or something that is
needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in a
backseat. This will help you see your child when you open the rear door
and reach for your belongings.
♦ Set the alarm on your cell phone as a reminder to you to drop your
child off at day care.
♦ Set your computer calendar program to ask, “Did you drop off at
daycare today?” Establish a plan with your daycare that if your child
fails to arrive within an agreed upon time that you will be called
within a few minutes.
♦ Be especially mindful of your child if you change your routine for
Get Involved. Download the safety handouts here in English and Spanish and share with friends, grandparents, daycare providers, and co-workers. Be sure to Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car.
For more information on preventing child heat stroke deaths, please
www.ggweather.com/heat and www.safekids.org/nlyca