July Is National Heatstroke Prevention Month
June 28, 2022
According to NoHeatStroke.org, 913 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke since 1998. Yet, all these deaths could have been prevented. The number of child hot car deaths for 2021 was 23. So far in 2022, six deaths have been reported. On average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Nearly every state has experienced at least one death since 1998. In both 2018 and 2019, a record number of 53 children died after being left in a hot vehicle.
It only takes a few minutes to save a life. In today’s world of technology and multi-tasking, it is easy to lose track of time or make a costly mistake. Even on a cool day, a vehicle can reach dangerous temperatures quickly. In only 10 minutes, the inside of a car can climb 20-30 degrees – even with the windows cracked.
The Denver Health Trauma and Injury Prevention team has 10 easy things you can do to keep your child safe in hot cars:
- Never leave a child or pet alone in a car, not even for a few minutes; if it’s too hot for a baby in the car, it’s too hot for your pet
- If your child is missing, check your pool first, then your vehicle (including the trunk!)—check neighbor’s pools and vehicles second
- Arrange to have your childcare provider contact you when your child doesn’t show up that day – make sure they have multiple contact numbers to call/text and that they keep calling until they reach a live person
- Always keep all vehicles LOCKED, even when they are in the garage, and keep your keys/key fobs out of reach
- Keep your wallet/purse AND cell phone in the back seat when you are driving
- Put one shoe in the back seat when you are driving—you’re not going to walk away from your vehicle without your other shoe
- Make it a habit to always look in the back seat when getting out of the car
- Teach your children that it’s NEVER okay to play in the car or to go into the car to get something without a grown-up
- Teach your children NEVER to hide in the car or inside the trunk
- Teach your children to blow the car’s horn repeatedly to attract attention if they are ever trapped inside a vehicle
If you see a child alone in a car, here is what you should do:
- If the child is not responsive or in distress, call 911 or alert nearby authorities. Do what you must to get the child out of the car. Use cool water to lower their body temperature until paramedics arrive.
- If the child is responsive, stay with them until authorities arrive. Have someone else try to find the driver or send out an announcement.
- Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the parent to return to take action. Good Samaritan laws in Colorado will protect you if you are acting in the best interest of the child or pet.
For additional information on heatstroke, please contact Missy Anderson at 303-602-7623 or Melissa.Anderson@dhha.org.