Hot summer days have contributed to more than 23child deaths so far this year in the United States as a result of heatstroke, which can happen when kids are unattended in cars. Today is National Heatstroke Prevention Day and Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Serviceswants toremind caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle, and if you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Since 1998, more than 790 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when alone in a vehicle.
"A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Lisa Grisham, Senior Fire Safety Educator with the fire department. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services and Safe Kids Cherokee County is asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”
Last Friday, 7 month old twins, a boy and a girl died after being in a hot car all day in the Bronx, New York. They were allegedly forgotten by their father who went to work. The temperature in the car was 86 degrees, thus the inside air temperature of the car would have been in excess of 136 degrees. These are the first Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke deaths since 2016.
Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.
C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, please visitwww.safekids.org/heatstroke. Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services is the Lead Agency of Safe Kids Cherokee County.