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Safe Kids Demo: Cars Get Deadly Hot Very Rapidly

Media Contact: Mary Colliver 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 18, 2010) In an effort to continue educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of heat stroke to children left unattended in vehicles, Safe Kids USA hosted an event at Test Track at Walt Disney World Resort’s Epcot theme park near Orlando, Fla. Through the Never Leave Your Child Alone campaign, Safe Kids USA, along with many other partners such as AAA, is working to increase awareness and reduce heat stroke deaths to children left unattended in vehicles.

During the event, Safe Kids USA demonstrated to Epcot guests at Test Track just how fast the temperature inside a vehicle can increase, putting any child occupant almost immediately at risk. Unfortunately, there have already been three confirmed heat stroke fatalities this year. The first occurred in early March in Florida on a day that reached only 73 degrees, the second occurred in late April in Georgia on a day that reached 86 degrees and the third occurred just six days later in Texas on a day that reached 80 degrees. From 1998 to 2009, 450 children died from heat stroke because they were left unattended in vehicles that became too hot for them to survive. As summer approaches and temperatures soar, Safe Kids reminds parents and caregivers to always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.

Never Leave Your Child Alone is part of Safe Kids Buckle Up (SKBU), the multifaceted child passenger safety program conducted by Safe Kids and sponsored by the General Motors Foundation. SKBU is dedicated to educating parents and caregivers about the importance of properly restraining children and protecting them in and around vehicles at all times.

“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, making them more susceptible to heat stroke – even on a day with mild temperatures,” said Sherri Hannan, coordinator of Safe Kids Fayette County, led by Kentucky Children's Hospital. "The Safe Kids USA display at Test Track demonstrated just how fast the temperature inside a car can increase, putting any child occupant immediately at risk. Our goal is to raise awareness of just how dangerous it is to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, as well as to remind parents and caregivers of important safety precautions they can take to avoid this preventable tragedy.”

Safe Kids Fayette County and Safe Kids USA urges all adults to take the following steps:

  • Call 911 if they see a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Never leave children alone in a vehicle - even for a minute.
  • Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you drop your child off at daycare.
  • Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of the child in a back seat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child before leaving.
  • Set your computer "Outlook" program to ask you, "Did you drop off at daycare today?"
  • Have a plan with your child care provider to call if your child does not arrive when expected.
  • Check cars and trunks first if a child goes missing.
  • More than 50 percent of the children who died from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle. When left unattended by an adult, 30 percent of affected kids gained entry into an unlocked vehicle, became trapped and were overcome by heat.

“It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car,” said Hannan. “Drivers must keep car doors locked and keys out of reach from young children at all times.”

For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths, go to Safe Kids and Hyperthermia Deaths of Children in Vehicles. Be sure to Never Leave Your Child Alone in a vehicle.

For more information about Safe Kids Fayette County go to www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/safekids or Safe Kids or call 859-323-1153.

Safe Kids Fayette County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Its members include health and safety experts, educators, community leaders, corporations, foundations, government representatives and volunteers to educate and protect families. Safe Kids Fayette County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Fayette County was founded in 1994 by Kentucky Children's Hospital.

Page last updated: 6/6/2014 12:19:50 PM