As summer approaches, bringing with it warmer temperatures, Safe Kids Kansas is working to increase awareness and urge caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle.
Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers to always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle, with the goal of having no more children die from heat stroke when they are “forgotten” in cars.
From 1998 to present, at least 569 children died from heat stroke because they were left unattended in vehicles that became too hot for them to survive.
"As these tragedies continue to occur, Safe Kids Kansas is intensifying our efforts to get the message out that the inside of a vehicle is an extremely dangerous place for a child alone in hot weather," said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “Even on a mild day, the inside of a car can quickly become very hot. This is a place no child should be alone, and because children’s bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults, this makes them much more susceptible to heat stroke.”
Although most would assume this would never happen to them, there is no common description of the caregiver that has experienced this tragedy. It has happened to caring and responsible families from all socio-economic, geographic and educational backgrounds.
"Fatal Distraction," Gene Weingarten's Pulitzer Prize-winning article in The Washington Post at http://ow.ly/ldDwU, explains how these heartbreaking and preventable tragedies can happen to anyone.
“Reaching parents and caregivers with ways to prevent these tragedies will no doubt help keep kids safe. These heartbreaking incidents can happen to anyone, and public education is vital to combating these preventable occurrences,” Sage said.
Nine out of 10 parents report that they never leave their child alone in a car, but for the one parent that does, things can end tragically. Never leave a child alone in a car, even for a minute.
Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by:
- Never leaving your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
- Consistently locking unattended vehicle doors and trunks.
- Create reminders and habits that give you and your child’s caregiver a safety net:
- Establish a peace-of-mind plan. Have your child care provider call you if your child is not dropped off within 10 minutes of their expected time of care. Create a routine of texting or calling other caregivers when you drop your child off at child care so all of you know where your child is at all times.
- Place a purse, briefcase, gym bag, cell phone or an item that is needed at your next stop in the back seat near the child.
- Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
- Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle:
- Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide – they are trained to determine if a child is in danger.
For more information on preventing child heat stroke deaths, visit www.ggweather.com/heat and www.safekids.org/heatstroke.
- Story from Safe Kids Kansas