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Child heatstroke deaths are preventable

AMY WADSWORTH
Guest Columnist

Seven deaths due to parents leaving children in a hot car have been reported already this year. Last year, 44 deaths occurred nationwide, including two in North Carolina.
Kelly Ransdell, Safe Kids North Carolina director, advised caregivers to always provide layers of protection.
“Always place important items like your phone, purse or iPad in the backseat so that you check it before leaving your car each day,” she said.
Also ask your daycare provider to call if your child does not arrive during the usual drop off time to insure no child is forgotten, she added.
Remember, this can happen to anyone.
“It happens to loving parents in the rush of everyday life,” Ransdell said.
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 minutes for a child to 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.
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 development 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.
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Amy Wadsworth is public information coordinator with Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties.

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