Written by Laura Stetser Tuesday, July 15, 2014 03:20 pm
The headlines this summer are full of news about children dying in hot cars. These stories are horrible, not only because of how helpless the child must have felt in the mere minutes it took, but also because of how preventable this problem is.
The most recent story of a 22-month-old boy from Georgia who died after his father allegedly left him in a hot car for hours is an extreme case, of course. There seems to be a lot more to this situation that average parents will experience, but the sad story allows for a teachable moment: this type of death is more common than most would expect.
Every 10 days in the United States alone, a child dies while unattended in a hot car, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization that works to prevent childhood injuries. That is an unbelievable statistic.
“As summer temperatures rise, more kids are at risk – the death toll this summer has already reached 16,” the organization states.
I understand the impulsive decision to leave a child in a car to run into a store and grab a quick cup of coffee. That car seat is ridiculously heavy and cumbersome. Your child is finally sleeping. You’ll just be a quick moment. You got the front parking spot so you can see the baby from the window.
But then you run into a friend or there is a line at the counter to check out, and fate is sealed. It’s too late. The damage is done.
Thursday, July 31 is National Heatstroke Prevention Day, but let’s not wait to act. Educate yourselves and share these Safe Kids facts and tips with your friends to prevent a completely preventable tragedy:
- A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body;
- Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states;
- More than half of heatstroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot a quiet child is in the car;
- Make sure the car is locked when you are not in it to prevent children from climbing in to play inside;
- Create reminders for yourself by putting your purse or briefcase in the backseat with your child; and
- If you see an unattended child in a car, act quickly. Call 911. Emergency professionals want you to call so they can help save a child.
For more safety information, go to www.safekids.org.