Heatstroke – Preventing a tragedy
Tuesday June 11, 2019
The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency wants to remind residents that leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke, even in cooler temperatures.
Sometimes babies are so peaceful and quiet in the backseat that we can forget they are even there, and it can be tempting to leave a sleeping baby in the car so we don’t have to wake them up while we quickly run into the store. On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.
“A car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” says Yvonne Atwood, Director of Personal Health and Disease Prevention. “Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.”
Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT.
Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.
Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase or purse in the backseat when traveling with your child.
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.
Additionally, teach kids not to play in cars.
Make sure to lock your vehicle (doors and the trunk) when you’re away from it. Keep keys and remote entry fobs out of children’s sight and reach.
Teach kids that trunks are for transporting cargo and are not safe places to play.
If your child is missing, immediately check swimming pools, vehicles and trunks. Get kids who are locked in cars out as soon as possible. If you can’t do so quickly, dial 911 right away. Emergency personnel are trained to evaluate and check for signs of heatstroke.
And lastly - go a step further: create extra reminders and communicate with your child careprovider.
If you regularly drop your child off at child care, create a calendar reminder on your phone or computer to make sure you’ve done so.
Make arrangements for your child care provider to call you right away if your child doesn’t show up at the expected time. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off children at child care. Heatstroke incidents often occur when people’s routine is disrupted.