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Simple Tips to Avoid Heat Stroke & Save Children from Hot Cars

Leaving a child in a hot car can prove to be a fatal mistake. Especially during summer, the temperature inside of a car can reach over 110 degrees. Additionally, North Carolina is in the highest division of heat stroke deaths.

“We have already heard of at least four deaths in the nation this year due to heat stroke,” said Debbie Newman, injury prevention representative at WakeMed. “Everyone needs to be on the lookout for anything concerning.”

Babies and young kids can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even in the vehicle. It can also be tempting to leave a baby alone in a car while we quickly run into the store. The problem is that leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heat stroke. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. These tragedies are completely preventable. Here’s how we can all work together to keep kids safe from heat stroke.

Reduce the Number of Deaths from Heat Stroke by Remembering to ACT

A: Avoid heat stroke-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 seat 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.

Pet Reminder 

Never leave pets unattended in the car or other enclosed outdoor spaces. They can quickly overheat and die.

Go a Step Further: Create Extra Reminders and Communicate with Daycare

  • Create a calendar reminder for your electronic devices to make sure you dropped your child off at daycare.
  • Develop a plan with your daycare so that if your child is late, you’ll be called within a few minutes. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off children at daycare.

Teach Kids Not to Play in Cars

Make sure to lock your vehicle, including doors and the trunk, when you’re not using it. Keep keys and remote entry fobs out of children’s sight and reach.

In the News: WRAL &WakeMed Offer Tips

WRAL recently came to WakeMed to discuss the growing problem of children being left in hot cars. Reporter Dr. Allen Mask spoke to WakeMed Injury Prevention’s Debbie Newman as well as WakeMed emergency physician Dr. Andy Jakubowicz for helpful tips, eye-opening information on the topic and crucial advice.

View the news story here.

Content for this blog taken from the summer 2014 issue of WakeMed’s Familes First magazine, article “Heat Stroke on the Rise.”