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.
2. Never leave a child in an unattended car for any amount of time, even with the windows rolled down.
3. Double-check that all children exit the vehicle when you reach your destination.
4. Take special care to ensure that sleeping infants are not overlooked.
5. Prior to restraining your children, check the temperature of the child safety seat surface and seat belt buckles to avoid unintentional burns or discomfort.
Kids dying in hot cars at alarming rate
NHTSA steps up efforts to prevent child deaths in hot cars at
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta summer safety facts at:
Reviewed August 1, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle