Already this spring, seven children across the U.S. have died due to heatstroke after being left unattended in a vehicle.
“Unfortunately, no one is immune to this kind of accident,” Clay said. “With our busy lives and constant demands, it’s all too easy to lose focus and forget that a child is in the car.”
“People don’t realize how quickly a car interior can heat up, Clay said, even on cloudy days. “In just 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 19 degrees. On an 80-degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly exceed 100 degrees,” she said. And cracking a window will not keep the inside of the car cool, she emphasized.
To help avoid tragedy, Clay recommends adults remember to ACT.
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a vehicle, even for a minute. Make sure to leave the vehicle locked when it’s not occupied so kids can’t climb in on their own.
C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of the vehicle next to the child that you will have to retrieve when you reach your destination. A purse, cell phone, briefcase are a good examples. It’s especially important to create this kind of reminder when you’re not following your normal routine. Picking up a child after daycare when you don’t normally have that responsibility would be an example, she said.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1 immediately. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond. No one wants a child to die needlessly in a car because passersby failed to call.
Since 1998, more than 550 children across the U.S. have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. Of these:
The River Cities Safe Kids Coalition works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children. The River Cities Coalition is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing unintentional injury.
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