When you park it, lock it

Published on August 13, 2014 with No Comments

On July 30, just a day before National Heatstroke Prevention Day, a three-year-old boy became the 19th heatstroke casualty of 2014.  The boy and his family had all taken an afternoon nap to avoid the 96 degree heat outside.  While the rest of his family slept, the boy woke up and wandered out into the yard.  He climbed into a black Toyota sedan, became trapped in the car, eventually went into cardiac arrest and died.

Sadly, this tragedy is a reminder that we need to continue to talk about injury prevention, to make sure that all parents and caregivers have the information and resources they need to keep kids safe.  Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children.  Little children are at higher risk because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.  Because cars heat up so quickly – 19 degrees in 10 minutes – tragedy can happen in a heartbeat.  In the United States, a child dies in a hot car approximately every 10 days.

While most of the attention about heatstroke has centered around parents who accidentally leave their children in the back seat, there is another danger that is often overlooked.  Approximately one-third of heatstroke deaths occur when small children climb into cars on their own and can’t get back out.  It is important for everyone to lock their cars when they are not in use – especially if there is a young child in the home.  In other words, “When you park it, lock it”.

We all have a role to play in preventing heatstroke.  Realize that heatstroke can happen anytime and anywhere.  If you are a new parent, focus on being more alert when your daily routine is disrupted.  Change of routine has been a factor in many heatstroke tragedies.  Lock your car when not in use and take action.  If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.  One call could save a life.

Posted in Education, News

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