Safe Kids continued to plan and implement an ongoing,
water safety program to mobilize those at risk to take action.
In an effort to continue educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of heat stroke to children left unattended in vehicles, Safe Kids USA hosted an event yesterday at Test Track at Walt Disney World Resort’s Epcot ® theme park near Orlando. Through the NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE campaign, Safe Kids USA, along with many other partners such as the AAA, is working to increase awareness and reduce heat stroke deaths to children left unattended in vehicles.
During the event, Safe Kids USA demonstrated to Epcot guests at Test Track just how fast the temperature inside a vehicle can increase, putting any child occupant almost immediately at risk. Unfortunately, there have already been three confirmed heat stroke fatalities this year. The first occurred in early March in Florida on a day that reached only 73 degrees, the second occurred in late April in Georgia on a day that reached 86 degrees and the third occurred just six days later in Texas on a day that reached 80 degrees. Between 1998 and 2009, 445 children died from heat stroke because they were left unattended in vehicles that became too hot for them to survive. As summer approaches and temperatures soar, Safe Kids USA reminds parents and caregivers to always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.
“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, making them more susceptible to heat stroke – even on a day with mild temperatures” said Lorrie Walker, training manager and technical advisor for Safe Kids USA. “Our display here at Test Track demonstrated just how fast the temperature inside a car can increase, putting any child occupant immediately at risk. Our goal for this event was to raise awareness of just how dangerous it is to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, as well as to remind parents and caregivers of important safety precautions they can take to avoid this preventable tragedy.”
Safe Kids USA urges all adults to take the following steps:
• Call 911 if they see a child unattended in a vehicle.
• Never leave children alone in a vehicle - even for a minute.
• Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you drop your child off at daycare.
• Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of the child in a back seat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child before leaving.
• Set your computer “Outlook” program to ask you, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
• Have a plan with your child care provider to call if your child does not arrive when expected.
• Check cars and trunks first if a child goes missing.
More than 50 percent of the children who died from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle. When left unattended by an adult, thirty percent of affected kids gained entry into an unlocked vehicle, became trapped and were overcome by heat. “It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car” added Walker. “Drivers must keep car doors locked and keys out of reach from young children at all times.”
For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths, please visit www.safekids.org/nlyca and www.ggweather.com/heat. Be sure to NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE in a vehicle.