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.
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. 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. “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.
Miami-Dade County School Board Member, Susie V. Castillo, who brought the idea of the initiative to the district, believes “this is such an important campaign, particularly at this time of the year when we experience record-high temperatures, to help prevent tragedies and save lives.”
“Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is an advocate for all children across South Florida and beyond. Together, we can make a difference and protect our precious children and babies by sharing this message and making safety a priority,” said Dr. Narendra M. Kini, President and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
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, until supplies last through the year 2016.
About Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the fourth largest school district in the United States, comprised of 392 schools, 345,000 students and over 40,000 employees. Located at the southern end of the Florida peninsula, the district stretches over 2,000 square miles of diverse and vibrant communities ranging from rural and suburban to urban cities and municipalities. A truly global community, district students speak 56 different languages and represent 160 countries.
About the Safe Kids Coalition of Miami-Dade County
Safe Kids Coalition of Miami-Dade County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children. Its members Safe Kids Coalition of Miami-Dade County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing unintentional injury, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost 1 million children die of injuries each year, and every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids Coalition of Miami-Dade County is led by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
About Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children's Hospital is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with nearly 800 attending physicians and more than 475 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children's Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org.