Change in routine, extreme heat pose deadly threat for children

aaaParents who have made the tragic mistake of forgetting a child in a hot car often cite a change in routine as a contributing factor.

With that in mind, and as temperatures soar, AAA is reminding all parents and caregivers whose routines have been disrupted by ‘back to school’ to slow down and ‘Look before you Lock’ your car to ensure every child’s safety.

“This week, both parents and children are adjusting their sleep schedules and their daily routines, increasing the risk that a dozing or quiet child might be forgotten in the back seat,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA. “In this extreme heat, the consequences could be deadly in a matter of minutes”.

According to the National Safety Council, there have already been 36 deaths in the US this year of children left in hot cars.

In fact, heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 15, with an average of 37 fatalities per year since 1998.

In the past two decades, 779 children left in vehicles have died of heatstroke, hyperthermia, or other complications.

Studies have shown about 51 percent of child hot car deaths in vehicles were caused by adults forgetting the children.

As a precaution, AAA is encouraging parents to leave their phone, their computer or something they will notice right away that they are missing in the back seat with the child.

Some scary statistics

  • A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body
  • A child can die of heat stroke on a 72-degree day
  • On a 95-degree day a car can heat up to over 180-degrees
  • The steering wheel can reach 159 degrees (temperature for cooking medium rare meat)
  • The seats can reach 162 degrees (temperature for cooking ground beef)
  • The dash can reach 181 degrees (temperature for cooking poultry)
  • At 104-degrees internal organs start to shut down

AAA Urges Motorists To ACT

  • A—Avoid heatstroke by never leaving a child in the car alone, not even for a minute.
  • C—Create electronic reminders or put something in the backseat you need when exiting the car – for example, a cell phone, purse, wallet, briefcase or shoes.  Always lock your car and never leave car keys or car remote where children can get to them.
  • T—Take action and immediately call 9-1-1- if you notice a child unattended in a car.

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