Safety tips to prevent vehicular heatstroke in children
As outdoor temperatures rise, the danger of children being seriously injured or even dying from being left alone inside a hot car also rises. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an effort to reduce these deaths and injuries by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke in young children.
“More than half of all heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and more than 30% are from a child getting into a hot car on their own,” said Michael Dwyer CAE Executive Director of JPMA. During COVID-19 it might be tempting to leave the kiddo’s in the car to keep them safe from the germs of stores, but even a new car can go dead inexplicably which would leave your children locked in a death trap.
In an effort to prevent these needless tragedies, JPMA urges all parents and caregivers to do three things:
- NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended;
- Make it a habit to look in the backseat EVERY time you
exit the car;
- ALWAYS lock the car, and put the keys out of reach. If
you ever see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911.
According to NHTSA, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and under. In fact, one child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days from being left in a hot vehicle.
Warning signs of heatstroke include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea, confusion, or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly and call 911.
“Children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as fifty-seven degrees,” said Dwyer. “On an eighty-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.”
NHTSA and JPMA want to remind everyone of a few key safety tips to prevent deadly accidents and to prevent vehicular heatstroke:
- Never leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle—even if the windows are partly open, or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on.
- Don’t let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them a vehicle is not a play area.
- Make a habit of looking in the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away.
- Take steps to remember not to leave a child in a vehicle: Write yourself a note, and place it where you’ll see it when you leave the vehicle. Place your purse, cellphone, or something else you’re sure to need in the back seat so you’ll be sure to see a child left in the vehicle. Keep an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. Once the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she leaves the vehicle.
- Always lock vehicle doors and trunks, and keep keys out of children’s reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
- Ask your childcare center to call you if your child doesn’t arrive on time for childcare.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately if you see a child left alone in a hot vehicle. When children are in distress due to heat, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible. #