Prevent Child Heat Stroke Deaths in Cars
As temperatures continue to rise, government officials and health professionals along with Safe Kids want you to know that you can prevent child deaths and injuries from heatstroke in hot cars.
Since 1998, more than 660 children in the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars.
These kinds of tragedies are 100 percent preventable,and everyone needs to work together to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy. Whether you are a parent or caregiver, or just a concerned bystander, you can help save lives.
Heatstroke sets in when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down, and when that temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.
Safe Kids, with the support of the General Motors, created Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car (NLYCAC) as part of its Buckle Up program, a national initiative established 19 years ago to keep children and families safe in and around cars.
Parents, caregivers and bystanders are encouraged to help reduce the number of heatstroke deaths 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. And 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 in the back 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.
Here are a few questions with answers that may be of help:
Q: What is heatstroke?
A: Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is a condition that occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
Q: What are symptoms of heatstroke?
A: Symptoms may include dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot or dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat or hallucinations.
When the sun is out, and even on cloudy days, the inside of a car can become much hotter than the temperature outside. In just 10 minutes a car can heat up 19 degrees. On an 80 degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly exceed 100 degrees. Cracking a window does not help keep the inside of a car cool.