OLATHE, KS. – Two children died of heatstroke in hot cars on Father’s Day, reports KidsAndCars.org, the only national nonprofit child safety organization working solely to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around vehicles.
Five children have died in hot cars already in June, bringing the total to 7 child vehicular heatstroke deaths this year nationwide.
- June 21st (Pomona, CA) – A 3-year-old girl was unknowingly left alone in a vehicle after returning home from a Father’s Day family outing.
- June 21st (Columbia, SC) – A 4-year-old boy got into an unlocked car in an apartment parking lot.
- June 11th (Spirit Lake, ID) – A 3-year-old boy got into a neighborhood vehicle on his own.
- June 5th (Baton Rouge, LA) – A 22-month-old girl was unknowingly left by a child care provider.
- June 2nd (Hiland Park, FL) – An 18-month-old girl died after being unknowingly left in vehicle after the mother believed she had been dropped off at daycare.
- May 12th (Lake City, FL) – A 16-month-old girl died after being unknowingly left in vehicle after the father believed she had been dropped off at daycare.
- April 20th (Phoenix, AZ) – A 2.5-year-old boy died after being unknowingly left in his father’s vehicle.
“Today is the day for every parent in America to understand that this can happen to anybody and take simple steps to protect their children.” says Janette Fennell, KidsAndCars.org president and founder. “Far too many wonderful parents and caregivers believe that this would never happen to them or their family; which is the most dangerous mistake we can make as parents. Nobody is immune,” she continued.
These tragedies are not only predictable, they are 100% preventable, yet over 700 children have died inside hot cars in the last 20 years, according to KidsAndCars.org.
KidsAndCars.org’s successful Look Before You Lock program has provided more than 625,000 education cards to birthing hospitals nationwide providing safety tips about how to keep children safe.
Safety Tips from KidsAndCars.org
Below are some simple tips parents and caregivers can follow to prevent heatstroke tragedies.
- Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
- “Look Before You Lock” – Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. Make sure no child has been left behind.
- Create a reminder to check the back seat.
- Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
- Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off. If your child will not be attending daycare as scheduled, it is the parent’s responsibility to call and inform the childcare provider. If your child does not show up as scheduled; and they have not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child. (this is very similar to the ‘absence-line’ used by most elementary, middle and high schools) Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.
- Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
- If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.
- If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
- Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.
- Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.
Please share these important safety tips with your childcare providers, teachers, relatives, friends, family and neighbors… It could save a life!
KidsAndCars.org urges everyone to read “Fatal Distraction,” Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer Prize-winning article in The Washington Post at http://ow.ly/ldDwU, which explains how these heartbreaking and preventable tragedies can happen to anyone.
For additional information, statistics and charts specific to child vehicular heat stroke visit http://www.kidsandcars.org/heatstroke.html
For further details about ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles, please visit www.KidsAndCars.org.
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