Today is National Heatstroke Prevention Day and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking everyone to call public attention to prevent kids being left unattended in cars. To date there have already been 19 deaths in the US alone and 44 in 2013 from the data compiled at San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences.
How ironic as the writer of this blog, as I dropped my child off at the daycare I reported a small child being left unattended in the car outside as the parent went inside, leaving the other child in a running car. This was not the first time I had witnessed this child being left outside in the car. I spoke with the receptionist but this time I told the administrator who was pleased that I was bringing this to her attention.
Throughout the day, NHTSA and its safety partners will highlight the dangers of leaving children alone in cars. @NHTSAgov will be using the hash tags #checkforbaby and #heatstrokekills on all its social media posts, and encourages the public to do the same.
We encourage you to follow these safety tips from the NHTSA, which can be found on their site at http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2014/National-heatstroke-prevention-day
Safety tips include:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn't show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the car seat;
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach;
- Community members who see a child alone in a vehicle should immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.