Hot summer days across the country contributed to more than nine child deaths this year from heat stroke when children were left unattended in vehicles. Safe Kids Pima County reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars. That message has been driven home this week in Arizona after a DPS dog left in a patrol car for an hour on Wednesday had to be euthanized the following day because of organ damage.
These horrific incidents are happening far too often – throughout the year and in nearly all 50 states. “As these tragedies continue to occur, Safe Kids Tucson is intensifying our efforts to get the message out that the inside of a vehicle is an extremely dangerous place for a child alone in hot weather,” said Yomaira Diaz, the coordinator for Safe Kids Tucson.
“Even on a mild day, the inside of a car can quickly become very hot. Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults, so this makes them much more susceptible to heat stroke.”
Although nine out of 10 parents report they never leave their child alone in a car, there is no common description of the caregiver that has experienced this tragedy, with differences in wealth, education and gender.
“These heartbreaking incidents can happen to anyone, and public education is vital to combating these preventable occurrences,” Diaz said. Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near-misses by remembering the acronym ACT:
AVOID heat stroke-related injury and death. Never leave your child alone in the car, even for a
minute, and consistently lock unattended vehicle doors and trunks.
CREATE reminders and habits that will serve as a safety net. Text or call all other caregivers
when you drop off your child, so all of you know where your child is at all times. Place a purse,
briefcase, gym bag, cell phone or other necessary item in a back seat. Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
TAKE ACTION if you see an unattended child in a vehicle. Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide. They are trained to determine if a child is in danger.
About Safe Kids Tucson
Safe Kids Tucson works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Its members include Tucson Police Department, Drexel Heights Fire District, Southwest Ambulance, Pima County Health Department, Pima County Department of Transportation, NextCare, Golder Ranch Fire District, Pima County Sheriff Department, and Northwest Medical Center. Safe Kids Tucson is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Tucson was founded in 2008 and is led by TMC for Children