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Look Before You Lock: Children and Pets in Hot Cars
Posted By Julie Lee On July 23, 2012 @ 10:00 am In Health Talk | No Comments
On June 29, we broke a record in Washington, D.C.: 104 degrees Fahrenheit-3 degrees warmer than the high set almost 80 years ago. In fact, the first six months in 2012 have been the hottest in the mainland U.S. since temperature records began in 1895.
While extreme heat can contribute to a variety of health issues for people of all ages, for children and pets, the danger is amplified in cars.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 14, with at least 33 fatalities reported in 2011 alone (NHTSA). Since 1998, over 500 children have died from heat stroke while left unattended in a vehicle, and many more children have suffered from injuries such as brain damage, blindness or hearing loss. To combat this tragedy, NHTSA recently launched a new national campaign: “Where’s baby? Look before you lock.”
And as NHTSA reminds us, children most commonly experience hyperthermia because their presence is breaking the caregiver’s routine, and they are therefore forgotten inside the vehicle (52% of occurrences). The next two most common circumstances of in-vehicle hyperthermia are when a child is playing in an unattended vehicle (30%), or when the child is intentionally left in the car (17%), but the caregiver is unaware of the danger (SFSU).
This tragedy can and should be avoided. Here are some tips to help avoid it:
For more information on keeping children safe around cars, visit Parents Central.
Can you think of any other good ways to remind yourself of the presence of a child in your vehicle? How can we eliminate this tragedy?
Image source: NHTSA.
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