- KidsAndCars.org and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are hosting Heat Stroke Prevention Day on July 31 to draw attention to the preventable tragedy of children dying after being left in a hot car.
- Being trapped in a hot car is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and younger.
- It's been a deadly year, with 23 children dying in hot cars already this year.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Cars can become coffins when children are left alone in a hot vehicle, so KidsAndCars.org and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have joined together to bring attention to this preventable tragedy by hosting Heat Stroke Prevention Day on July 31.
Volunteers will visit birthing centers nationwide to distribute Look Before You Lock safety education cards for new and expectant parents, bringing attention to the sobering fact that heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and younger.
The number-one rule for parents is to never leave their child unattended in a car.
The safety-education cards tell parents and caregivers that they should start a habit of opening the back door of a car to make sure no child has been left behind, especially on a chaotic day. Or, if the child disappears, check cars and trunks immediately.
KidsAndCars.org and NHTSA supporters have vowed to post social media messages throughout July 31, as well, asking people to share the posts on Facebook and retweet using #heatstroke.
It's been a deadly year, with 23 children dying in hot cars already this year. In an average year 37 children die annually, or about one every 10 days. Since the group began tracking data, at least 670 children have died in these preventable tragedies.
A parked car may reach 125 degrees in minutes, even when the windows are partially open. Children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke, as their body temperatures rise three to five times faster than an adult's.
"A change in routine, fatigue, distraction, anxiety — each can lead to a tragic momentary memory lapse," said Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, in a statement. "It can happen to anybody, even the most loving and attentive parents."
Fennel points out it has happened to teachers, a pediatrician, dentist, postal clerk, social worker, police officer, nurse, clergyman, electrician, accountant, soldier, assistant principal and even a rocket scientist.
"We never know when there might be a day that our memory fails us, so we urge parents to implement these easy-to-follow instructions so that they become a habit for them and all who care for their child," she said.
Edmunds says: This safety campaign urges parents and caregivers to always "look before you lock." It may save a child's life.