Every year, as the temperature goes up, so do the chances of children being left in hot cars. Parents often are out of their routine, the child may be asleep, or a combination of circumstances combines with potentially deadly results.
Terrified parents hear the stories of children who were unintentionally left in hot cars in extreme heat on the evening news and think it couldn’t happen to them. Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone and sadly, these tragedies are 100 percent preventable.
With record high temperatures across the country, there have been at least twenty-one hyperthermia-related child deaths during 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) convened a roundtable on July 26, 2011, to help increase efforts to prevent these needless and preventable deaths.
Children left alone in vehicles during hot weather are at risk of a serious injury or death from hyperthermia. According to NHTSA research, hyperthermia is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of fourteen.
“These twenty-one deaths were tragic and preventable – not one of those children should have lost their lives in this horrible way,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood during the event. “We need to do everything we can to remind people to be vigilant and never leave a child alone in or around a motor vehicle.”
NHTSA experts were joined by representatives from the automobile industry, car seat manufacturers, victims, researchers, consumer groups, and health and safety advocates to discuss strategies to reduce child fatalities and injuries in hot vehicles.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta advices parents to avoid such tragedies by remembering a few simple rules:
1. Temperatures inside a car rise at alarming rates during the summer, even when it is only moderately warm outside.
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