Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
TOPEKA, Kan. - Hot summer days across the country contributed to at least 33 child deaths in 2011 from heat stroke when children were left unattended in vehicles. Safe Kids Kansas reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars and always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.
"As these tragedies continue to occur, Safe Kids Kansas is intensifying our efforts to get the message out that the inside of a vehicle is an extremely dangerous place for a child alone in hot weather," said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. “Even on a mild day, the inside of a car can become dangerously hot within minutes. Children are particularly susceptible to heat stroke because their bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults.”
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. Many believed they had already dropped their child off with a caregiver, not realizing the child was still in the vehicle. Although most would assume this would never happen to them, there is no common description of the caregiver that has experienced this tragedy. It has happened to the rich and poor, educated and less educated, women and men, city dwellers and suburbanites, and in all but one state.
Thirty percent of kids who died from hyperthermia were either intentionally left unattended by an adult or gained entry into an unlocked vehicle and became trapped and overcome by heat. Because it takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car, drivers must keep car doors locked and keys out of reach from young children.
Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near-misses by remembering to ACT.
Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle:
For more information on preventing child heat stroke deaths, please visit www.ggweather.com/heat and www.safekids.org/heatstroke.
Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook.