(WJBK) - In the United States last year, 39 kids died being left alone in a vehicle and, for this year, that number has already grown to 16. Many caregivers don't understand the risk involved with leaving their children (or pets) alone in a hot car, even if its just for a minute.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is (non-crash) vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body isn't able to 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. When a child's internal temperature gets to 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. And when that child's temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.
A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn't help.
Symptoms can quickly progress from flushed, dry skin and vomiting to seizures, organ failure and death.
Top Safety Tips
Safe Kids is asking everyone to help protect kids from this preventable tragedy by remembering to ACT.
- A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids don't get in on their own.
- C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you're not following your normal routine.
- T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
Who Is Affected?
- These types of tragedies can happen to anyone, and most of the cases are to loving, caring parents.
- It's easy to become distracted when you are a new parent and are sleep-deprived or when your routine is disrupted.
- Data has shown that heatstroke tragedies happen more often when the daily routine is changed.
For more information, please visit www.childrensdmc.org/KIPP.