When temperatures rise, so does the risk of an unimaginable tragedy – children accidentally left in hot cars.
Nationally, nine children have died in cars as a result of the heat which is a 350 percent INCREASE from this time last year. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue is teaming up with Safe Kids Worldwide to prevent child deaths and injuries in hot cars.
When outside temperatures are in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only minutes even with a window rolled down two inches. With sustained and record-breaking temperatures predicted in the region, families are reminded that one of the greatest dangers is leaving a child in a car unattended on a hot day. Children’s bodies do not acclimate to the heat as well as adults and can overheat easily. Infants and children under four years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. Children can also sustain injuries from hot cars that can include permanent brain injury, blindness, loss of hearing and kidney failure. Heatstroke tragedies often occur when there has been a change in a family’s daily routine, a parent leaves a child in the car “for just a minute” unaware how quickly the temperature in a car can rise to dangerous levels or after a child gets into an unlocked vehicle to play unbeknownst to the parent or caregiver and can’t get out.
These tragedies are preventable. Avert and reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT:
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child unattended in a car, not even for a minute. Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – and keep keys stored out of a child’s reach and car doors locked when the vehicle is not in use to prevent children from getting 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.