Hyperthermia: The Leading Cause of Non-Crash, Vehicle-Related Deaths for Children
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Summer is quickly approaching and temperatures are starting to rise. Did you know that every 10 days in the United States a child dies due to hyperthermia (heatstroke) induced by being left in a hot car?
High temperatures do not need to be the only concern; mild temperatures can also pose a high threat to children. Even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, the temperatures inside a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes.
Babies and young kids can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there. It can also be tempting to leave a child alone in a car while we quickly run into the store.The problem is that leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. These tragedies are completely preventable. Here’s how we can all work together to keep kids safe from heatstroke.
Reduce the Number of Deaths from Heatstroke 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.
Teach Kids Not to Play in Cars
- Make sure to lock your vehicle, including doors and trunk, when you’re not using it. Keep keys and remote entry fobs out of children’s sight and reach.
- Teach kids that trunks are for transporting cargo and are not safe places to play.
- If your child is missing, get help and check swimming pools, vehicles and trunks. If your children are locked in a car, get them out as quickly as possible and dial 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to evaluate and check for signs of heatstroke.
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