Summer is almost upon us in the United States. As the weather warms, it is a good time for an important reminder about the dangers of hot vehicles. Approximately 37 children perish in hot cars each year in the U.S., according to a meteorologist at San Jose State University.
Heat-death incidents tend to peak between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Two or three children die each week during this hotter period in the Northern Hemisphere. Last year, approximately 1.25 times as many kids died in hot vehicles – 42 – as did all people who lost their lives in tornadoes in the U.S. – 35. This is especially important to remember in the Dallas region, where average June temperatures reach 92 degrees.
Meteorologist Jan Null has tracked child heatstroke fatalities in the U.S. for 20 years. His scientific research suggests that at least 50% of children die in a hot vehicle simply because the parent/guardian forgot about them. While this seems an astonishing oversight to some, the hectic pace of modern life can make some adults forget their responsibilities to their children.
Null studies media reports of these heat-related deaths through a program funded by the National Safety Council called NoHeatstroke.org. The findings are startling:
- 87% of kids who passed away from heatstroke were three or younger
- 54% were forgotten
- 27% were engaged in various play activities alone in a vehicle
- 18% were purposely left by an adult.
Keep in mind that a vehicle’s internal temperature can rise by almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Heatstroke can happen when the body’s temperature is 104 degrees. At 107 degrees, there is permanent organ damage and possibly death. These tragic accidents can also befall pets, not just children.
What You Can Do
To stop needless heat deaths of children this summer, experts recommend:
- Do not leave your child alone in your vehicle for one second – ever.
- Keep the car locked when you are not around so children cannot get inside unattended.
- Use reminders that your child is in the backseat: Put your cell phone or purse in the rear seat, for example.
- If you ever see a kid alone in a vehicle, call 911 right away.
- Set your phone’s calendar reminder system to check that you dropped your child off. Also, develop a plan that you get alerts on your phone if your child does not show up.
- If your child uses a car or booster seat in the car, consider car seat technology that reminds you after you turn off the car that your child is in the back seat.
Guajardo & Marks wants to remind our readers to take these simple steps to keep your child and pet safe this summer.
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