Hot summer days across the country have contributed to more than 29 child deaths so far this year from heatstroke when children were alone in vehicles. The Eddy County Extension office reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars, and if you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Since 1998, more than 700 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when unattended in a vehicle.
"A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Jennah McKinley, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why we are asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”
Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses 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.
Eddy County Extension Service and New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is an engine for economic and community development in New Mexico, improving the lives of New Mexicans through academic, research, and extension programs. Eddy County Government, New Mexico State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating, to put knowledge to work.
For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, please visit www.noheatstroke.org and www.safekids.org/heatstroke.