Heatstroke Safety

heatstroke photo

*photo courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide

As the summer goes on, it seems as though more and more cases of children being left alone in hot cars are flooding the media with tragic stories.  Far too many children are being left in hot cars by themselves, and leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or even death from heatstroke.  This year, according to kidsandcars.org, there have already been 12 cases of child vehicular heatstroke deaths.  On average, there have been 38 deaths per year since 1998.

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths for children, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.  Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults.  These heatstroke deaths and related injuries are 100 percent preventable.

Safe Kids Worldwide shares tips on how to reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke 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.

“Heatstroke prevention is extremely important”, says Lisa Allee, MSW, LICSW, Injury Prevention Coordinator in BMC’s Trauma Section. “I tell parents to leave their purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder to check the back of the automobile to prevent heatstroke deaths when I install car seats as part of our Child Passenger Safety Program here at BMC.”

To learn more about heatstroke, please visit: http://www.safekids.org/heatstroke

To learn more about the Child Passenger Safety Program at Boston Medical Center, please visit: http://www.bmc.org/traumasurgery/injuryprevention/patients-caregivers.htm

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