As we enter the dog days of summer, it's important to remember steps to protect our children against heatstroke.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children younger than 14. In 2014, 32 children died from heatstroke, and heatstroke deaths have been reported in all 50 states, 11 months out of the year.
Tragically, most child deaths caused by heatstroke are preventable. More than half of all heatstroke deaths occurred when a busy or distracted caregiver forgot a child was riding in the backseat of a vehicle. One-third of heatstroke deaths resulted from a child becoming trapped inside a vehicle after climbing in on their own.
Heatstroke is entirely avoidable when caregivers take time to observe safety protocols. Remember to ACT against heatstroke through these safety tips recommended by Safe Kids Worldwide:
A: Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle. A young child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's body, and the internal temperature of a car can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Cracking windows won't make the car environment any safer.
C: Create reminders for those chaotic days. Hang a note on your rearview mirror or make a habit of placing your purse or briefcase beside a car seat. Create an alert on your smartphone. Be accountable to someone else for dropping a child off at a day care.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
On July 31, National Heatstroke Awareness Day, Safe Kids Fayette County will host an event at Buy Buy Baby in Hamburg to spread awareness of the Never Leave Your Child Alone in a car campaign. The event will be from 3 to 6 p.m., with car seat checks until 5:30 p.m. In addition to car seat checks, Safe Kids representatives will provide information and tips for preventing heatstroke deaths. For more information about heatstroke prevention, go to KidsandCars.org.