EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Children dying from heatstroke in cars, either because they were left or became trapped, have reached a record number. In 2018, 52 children lost their lives — the most in over 20 years. This year, there have been 20 such deaths as of July 11.
Vehicular heatstroke deaths don’t just happen when a child is forgotten. The second leading cause (26%) of such deaths are children getting into unattended vehicles. Get in the habit of always locking your car doors and trunk, year-round. The temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees, even when the temperature outside is as low as 57 degrees.
While all types of vehicular heatstroke deaths are preventable, the third leading cause of these deaths—knowingly leaving a child—is the most preventable. Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning on. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s.
If you see a child alone in a vehicle:
• Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
• If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over an intercom system.
• If the child is not responsive and appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window. Many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.
Remember: Kids and hot cars can be a deadly combination. Don’t take the chance. Always look in the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away. Help spread the word on social media, #HeatstrokeKills #CheckforBaby