RALEIGH — During this summer heat, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and Safe Kids North Carolina remind people of the dangers of leaving children in cars. According to Safe Kids USA, 21 children have died of heatstroke in vehicles so far in 2013, with one of those deaths occurring in North Carolina.
The danger of vehicular hyperthermia in children in North Carolina spreads from February through November due to the subtropical climate. Hyperthermia can occur even on days with mild 70-degree temperatures. The temperature in a closed vehicle can rise about 20 degrees in 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes. Cracking a window has little effect.
“Never leave a child alone in a car, even for a short amount of time. And if you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately,” said Goodwin. “One child’s death is one too many, so I’m asking all parents and caregivers to take a few simple steps to prevent an avoidable tragedy.”
Parents and caregivers can cut down on the number of hyperthermia deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT:
•Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car for even a minute. Make sure to keep the car locked when not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
•Create reminders by putting something in the back of the car next to the child that is needed at the final destination, such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone. Many child heat stroke deaths occur because parents and caregivers become distracted and exit their vehicle without their child.
•Take action. If a child is seen alone in a car, call 911.
For more information, see ncsafekids.org or safercar.gov.