Heat Stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths in children in the United States. On average, every 8 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids of Miami-Dade County have teamed up to launch the “Please Don’t Leave Me” campaign which will provide parents and caregivers across South Florida with a visual tool and helpful tips in an effort to prevent these tragedies.
Did You Know?
- A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body.
- On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 19 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and can continue getting hotter with each passing minute.
- Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states.
- More than half of heatstroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot a quiet child was in the vehicle.
In South Florida, temperatures can rise to 80 and even 90 degrees year round. Babies and young children can sometimes sleep so peacefully in a vehicle that a parent or caregiver may forget they are even there. The “Please Don’t Leave Me” campaign is providing caregivers across South Florida with free rearview mirror hanging tags that act as a helpful reminder that a child is in the vehicle.
“Heatstroke can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere, especially in South Florida,” said Malvina Duncan, RN, Safe Kids of Miami-Dade County and Injury Prevention Coordinator at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adults’ body, making a little one much more susceptible to heat stroke. That is why it is imperative that parents never leave a child unattended in a vehicle,” she said.
Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT.
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.
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.
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.
Rearview Mirror Reminders
M-DCPS will be distributing the hanging tags to the families of children enrolled in Head Start and Early Start programs in all of its schools.
The tags can also be obtained, free-of-charge, at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department, at Nicklaus Children’s Pediatric Care Centers or at any of Nicklaus Children’s Urgent Care Centers throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
For more information on preventing child heat stroke deaths and other safety-related information, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.