Commentary

June 20, 2014

National Safety Month: Preventing vehicle-induced heatstroke deaths

Just because a car isn’t moving doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, in 2013, 43 children died from heatstroke inside vehicles – one of the deadliest years to date. These tragedies can happen to anyone, but are preventable with the proper education and action.

This National Safety Month, the National Safety Council is calling on all parents and caregivers to take an extra look before stepping out of their vehicles to ensure safety of their children and pets. The difference can be life or death. Children overheat three to five times faster than adults. Even in 70-degree weather, a vehicle can reach a life-threatening temperature in just minutes.

“Nobody ever thinks something like this could happen to them, until it does,” said Deborah Hersman, NSC president and CEO.

“Unfortunately, every summer, dozens of children die as a result of high temperatures inside of cars. These unintended mistakes can devastate families, so make sure you always look before you lock your vehicle.”

Follow these simple steps to ensure a safe trip, every time:

  • Never leave your child unattended in a car
  • Use reminders, such as leaving something you need in the back seat (like your purse, briefcase or phone)
  • Always lock the doors of your car after you have exited – children may get into cars on their own and become trapped inside
  • If you spot a child alone in a car, don’t hesitate – call 9-1-1

National Safety Month encourages safe behaviors to prevent the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths. The Council’s National Safety Month campaign, Safety: it takes all of us, includes free downloadable materials on summer safety. Visit nsc.org/nsm to get involved.




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