Nationwide since 1998 to the present, 720 deaths to children were as a result of parents/caregivers leaving them unattended in automobiles. Eighty-seven percent were three years of age or younger. That’s an average of one child dying every 8.2 days. Nationwide during 2012, 10 children ranging from the ages of 4 months to 5 years old lost their lives due to hyperthermia in temperatures ranging from 83 to 105 degree temperatures. In 2014 there have been at least fifteen deaths of children unattended in vehicles; seven which has been confirmed as heatstroke and eight which, based upon the known circumstances, are most likely heatstroke
As outside temperatures rise, the dangers for children being seriously injured or even dying from being left alone inside a hot car also rise. That’s why the Monmouth Beach Fire Company is joining with other, state and local highway safety, law enforcement, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an effort to reduce these deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke in young children.
"More than half of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and more that 30 percent are from a child getting into a hot car on their own,"
In an effort to prevent these needless tragedies, we want to urge all parents and caregivers to do three things:
- NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended;
- Make it a habit to look in the backseat EVERY time you exit the car;
- ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach. And, if you ever see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 right away.
According to NHTSA, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and under. In fact, one child dies from heatstroke nearly every 8 days from being left in a hot vehicle.
Warning signs of heatstroke include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea, confusion or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly (not an ice bath but by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose). Call 911 immediately.
Children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80 degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. With windows cracked, vehicle temperatures can reach 125 degrees in minutes. Cracking a window has little to no effect on slowing rising temperatures in vehicles.