Second Annual National Heatstroke Prevention Day Call to Action to Highlight Dangers of Children in Hot Cars


toddler in car seat

WASHINGTON -- August 1, 2014: Safe Kids Worldwide is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the General Motors Foundation and OnStar for today's National Heatstroke Prevention Day, a day-long social media campaign to raise awareness about heatstroke and the importance of never leaving a child alone in a car.

So far this year, at least 19 children have died from heatstroke while unattended in vehicles. These tragedies have happened in 11 different states and in temperatures as hot as 96 degrees and as mild as 73 degrees.

To learn safety tips, visit: Heatstroke

"We don't want to see this tragedy happen to any family," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "We're asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by spreading the word on National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Whether you're a parent, caregiver or a concerned bystander, you can help save lives."

As part of National Heatstroke Prevention Day, Safe Kids and the General Motors Foundation are posting heatstroke messaging, statistics and prevention tips on Facebook and Twitter between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to help raise awareness about heatstroke prevention.

In addition, starting July 31, OnStar advisors will be reminding subscribers to "never leave a child alone in a car" when traveling with young children and also encouraging subscribers to be a Good Samaritan and press the red emergency button in their vehicle if they see an unattended young child locked in a parked vehicle.

"As long-time partners of Safe Kids, General Motors and the General Motors Foundation are committed to keeping kids safe in and around vehicles," said General Motors Foundation President Vivian Pickard. "Our goal is to help educate families, caregivers and bystanders to ensure that we don't lose another child to heatstroke."

Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 19 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and keep getting hotter with each passing minute. And cracking the window doesn't help.

Heatstroke sets in when the body isn't able to cool itself quickly enough. A child's body heats up three to five times faster than adult's, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. When a child's internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down, and when that temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

Safe Kids supports NHTSA's heatstroke education campaign, "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock." In addition, to help prevent these tragedies, Safe Kids, with the support of the General Motors Foundation, created Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car as part of its Buckle Up program, a national initiative established 17 years ago to keep children and families safe in and around cars.

Parents, caregivers and bystanders are encouraged to help reduce the number of heatstroke deaths by remembering to ACT.

A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids don't get in on their own. C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you're not following your normal routine. T: 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. One call could save a life.

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