21 June 2009

Heat, Automobiles and Children

Now that hot weather is here, people need to be especially aware of the damage high temperatures can do. Children should NEVER be left alone in a car, even for a few minutes, but every summer, you hear horror stories about children dying after being left alone in a car with little or no ventilation.

A recent study done by San Francisco State University revealed that from 1998-2007, 365 children nationally died from heatstroke after being left in cars. Most were 3 years of age and under. Additional sad statistics from this study revealed that more than 1/3 of the children who died were accidentally left behind by a parent or caregiver. Another 1/3 were trapped while playing in an unattended vehicle.

Registered nurse Cathy Coleman of Hurley Medical Center Flint, MI says that when the outside temperature is 86 degrees, the internal temperature (in a vehicle) quickly reaches 134-154 degrees. Animals are also often left in vehicles without ventilation and/or water. The same holds true for them with the heat.

Some tips on preventing a summer tradgey include:

Never leave a child unattended even with a window slightly open

Always keep the car and trunk locked and keep keys out of a child's reach

Call 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a vehicle