Today, July 31, is National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Sadly the news is all-too-often dotted with stories of children left in vehicles as temperatures skyrocket. To help address this issue, the Ford Motor Company is supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to tackle the alarming safety threat that heatstroke poses for young children left in hot cars. As a parent who is keenly aware of this 100%-preventable tragedy, I’m proud to help share this message of awareness and prevention.
Did you know?
- Last year alone, 44 children in the United States lost their lives after being left in unattended motor vehicles
- More than half (52%) of kids who died from vehicular heatstroke were “forgotten” by their caregiver
- A child’s temp can heat up to 5 times faster than an adult’s on a hot day
- Studies show that when the temperature outside is 90 degrees the temperature inside a parked car can rise to 109 degrees in 10 minutes, 119 degrees in 20 minutes and 124 degrees in 30 minutes
As summer temperatures rise, here are a few simple tips for parents and childcare providers to keep kids safe inside of vehicles:
- Never leave infants or children alone in a parked car, even if the windows are partially open
- Make sure the safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing a child in a restraint system
- Don’t ever leave sleeping infants in the car
- Be sure to check the front and back seats of a vehicle before locking it and walking away
- Lock your car when you’re not in it, so kids can’t get in on their own (In more than 29% of cases of fatal heatstroke, a child got into the vehicle on their own)
To these excellent tips provided by Ford Motor Company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, I also suggest:
- Leave your purse or briefcase in the back seat with the child so it HAS to be retrieved when you arrive at work
- When your family faces a change in schedule (of who is dropping off children), set a phone alarm or other reminder to double check who is doing what
- Make your own reminder “flag” (something bright colored or bulky) that’s attached to the car seat when it’s occupied, and to the driver when the child is secured
When people hear of these tragedies, their responses are often ones of condemnation and cries of how it would “never” happen to them. I’m sure in those 52% of children forgotten children, the parents would have said the same thing prior to the accident. It would never have occurred to them that they would be so distracted by work, health issues, changes in day-to-day scheduling, financial crises, etc. that they would forget for a moment their most precious cargo.
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If the child is in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly (not an ice bath but by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose).
Visit www.safercar.gov/heatstroke for more information. #heatstrokekills #checkforbaby