Heatstroke Kills, But We Can All Work to Prevent It
As summer continues to heat up, heatstroke remains one of the top vehicle-related killers of children, outside of car crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In fact, on average, it is reported that 38 children die in hot cars each year in the U.S.
As members of the community, Goldfinch Winslow Law Firm believes that education is the most effective way to help prevent unthinkable tragedies from happening. We encourage you to share these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help protect children from heat-related deaths.
- Look Before You Lock. Always check the back seat of your vehicle before you lock or walk away from it to make sure your child is not in the back seat.
- Create Reminders. Keep a stuffed animal 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 your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
- A Routine Check. If someone else is driving your child or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
- Keep It Locked. Always keep your vehicle locked and keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.
- Take Action. If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911. If the child appears in distress or is non-responsive, remove the child from the vehicle and spray the child with cool water.
Take the time to understand your surroundings and protect those dependent on you. It may be a child, a pet, or even an elderly parent in the back seat. Within 1 hour, the temperature inside of a car parked in the sun on a day that reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) or hotter, hit an average of 116 degrees F (47 degrees C).
A person trapped in a rapidly heating car is at risk for heatstroke, which can be deadly. In most cases heatstroke happens when a child’s core body temperature rises above 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) for an extended period of time. Children strapped into a car seat in a parked car on a hot day, the child would meet the criteria for heatstroke in just 1 hour if the car were parked in the sun and 2 hours if the car were parked in the shade, researchers have found.
We pray that you, and your loved ones are safe in these hot summer days.