As temperatures soar during the week of Independence Day, Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids North Carolina Chair Mike Causey reminds people of the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot cars, even for just a few minutes.
"A good rule of thumb is ‘look before you lock,’” said Commissioner Causey. “Before you lock your car, make sure you look in the backseat. The dangers of heatstroke are very real even if a child is only left in a car for a few minutes. Taking that one extra second to look could save your child’s life."
2018 was the worst year on record for child vehicular heatstroke deaths with 52 children dying, including one in North Carolina when a 7-month-old boy in Raleigh was left in the car for at least two hours.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, across the United States, more than 740 children have died since 1998 because they were trapped in a hot car. That’s nearly 40 deaths per year that could have been prevented – if only some precautionary steps had been taken.
Children are at a greater risk for heatstroke than adults because their body heats up three to five times faster. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, when the body’s temperature reaches 104 degrees, a child’s internal organs start to shut down. When it reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.
On an 80- degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly exceed 100 degrees and cracking a window does not help keep the inside of a car cool.
Safe Kids North Carolina’s summer safety campaign “Baby, It’s Hot Inside” is raising awareness about the dangers of heatstroke and asks parents and caregivers to ACT:
- A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Remember to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids can’t get in on their own.
- C: Create reminders so you don’t mistakenly leave your child in back by putting something with them that you’ll need at your final destination such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone.
- T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
Safe Kids North Carolina reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 71 counties served by 46 coalitions across the state. For more safety tips and information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org.