August 2, 2018
In 2017, 43 young children have died of heatstroke after being left or trapped in vehicles. This is about double the number of children who died this way during the same period last year.
According to CNN
, a 3-year-old boy in Houston died in July when he was left in a bus after a day care field trip. Records from the day care show the boy had erroneously been accounted for as the group reassembled after the trip.
Earlier this year, in May, a 1-year-old girl died in Tennessee after her father forgot to drop her off at her daycare before heading out of town on a business trip.
The stories seem endless. Dozens of children die each year this way, according to NoHeatStroke.org
, all over the United States.
It’s Usually Unintentional
In the majority of cases of child heatstroke fatality – 53% – parents simply forgot their child was in the car, according to NoHeatStroke.org
. Babies sleep soundly, and parents are stressed, rushing to get to work or driving on autopilot, not tuned in to a new schedule or change of routine. These incidents happen to people from all walks of life.
It’s Always Preventable
New car seat technology is available that will sound an alarm after the driver turns off the car, reminding him or her that a child is in the back seat. NHTSA.gov
offers other suggestions for keeping your precious cargo safe:
- Keep a stuffed animal in the child’s seat, then move it to the front seat after you strap your child in as a visual reminder.
- If your daily routine changes, always make sure your child has arrived at his destination safely.
- Make sure daycare providers know to call parents or relatives if the child does not arrive.
- Never leave a child alone in a car; use drive-through services and pay at the pump so you won’t be tempted to leave the child “just for a moment.”
- Remember, children overheat four times faster than adults; a child is likely to die when his body temperature reaches 107 degrees, and that can happen in minutes.
- Even in 60-degree weather a vehicle can reach life-threatening temperatures quickly; regardless of the outside temperature, the average increase in temperature inside a vehicle is 3.2 degrees per five-minute interval.
- If you ever see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately.