Heatstroke Prevention: Put an end to hot car deaths

Published on: 07/02/2020

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.

Take Action

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.
  

For more information on preventing child heat stroke deaths and other safety-related information, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.


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