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Child heatstroke deaths are preventable

Guest columnist

Where’s Baby? Look before you lock.
Never leave your child alone in a car!
Did you know that heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children? According to Safe Kids USA, on average every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.
These deaths are preventable!
Many caregivers do not realize that a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s. It only takes a few short minutes before a child can become overheated. Heat stroke happens when the body cannot cool itself fast enough and the core temperature rises to dangerous levels. In a vehicle, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes on an 80 degree day, which can be fatal. Cracking the window does nothing to reduce the temperature inside a car left in the sun.
Angel Ross, Trauma Program Coordinator with CaroMont Health Trauma Services in Gastonia said that many of these deaths are because parents forgot their children were in the vehicle. There are many things you can do to remind yourself that your child is in the car including putting your child’s picture on your rearview mirror.
“Pay close attention and always check the backseat,” she said.
Top Tips for Preventing Hyperthermia (According to Safe Kids USA).

  • Remember ACT-Avoid, Create Reminders and Take Action!
  • Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in the car, even just for a moment!
  • Create reminders and habits that give you and your child’s caregiver a safety net:
  • Set the alarm on your cellphone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
  • When you drop off your child, make a habit of calling other caregivers so everyone knows where your child is at all times.
  • Place an item in the backseat that is needed at your next stop such as your purse or wallet.
  • Take action if you see a child unattended in a vehicle. Dial 911 immediately!
  • Download the Free iPhone App “Baby Reminder”
  • Baby Reminder, a new iPhone app, was created by a software developing company in Israel to help prevent these tragedies. It is a good tool to remind you not to leave you child alone in your car. Here is the link: http://itunes.apple.com/il/app/baby-reminder/id468332744?mt=8.

Want to learn more about the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties?
The Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties is your local Smart Start agency.
You can reach us at 704-922-0900 or visit us online at www.pfclg.com. Our vision is a community where young children will reach their health and educational potential.

Amy Wadsworth is Public Information Coordinator for the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties.

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