Safe Kids Gwinnett to Combate Child Deaths from Heatstroke
Over 520 Deaths Nationwide Demand Expanded Efforts
Safe Kids Gwinnett, the General Motors Foundation and its partners are launching an education and awareness program on April 12 to help reduce the number of child deaths in cars and trucks caused by heat stroke. These inevitable tragedies start to occur in March with the numbers peaking during the hot summer months.
On April 12 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., the Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car program will unite a Gwinnett pediatrician, Gwinnett Police, Safe Kids Gwinnett, and Remember Sydney Stanley, to share with parents and caregivers the dangers to children in vehicles. Since 1998, over 520 children nationwide have died from heat stroke while unattended in cars.
This event will be the campaign’s 2012 kickoff and will include: a pediatrician explaining the special considerations of children and heat, a police officer addressing the current laws and what the community can do to help a child in danger and Safe Kids Gwinnett presenting the current data and prevention strategies. Also included will be an emotional story from the mother of a Georgia child lost to heatstroke. The event will take place in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center auditorium, located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville, and is open to the public.
This is the start of a prevention campaign that will include child passenger safety events, as well as tip sheets to be handed out at child care centers, clinics, police and fire stations and other public venues. The handouts will be available in both English and Spanish.
“Child deaths from heat stroke have occurred as early as February and with an outside temperature as low as 57 degrees,” said Tania Diaz, Safe Kids Coordinator. “With the help of our partners, we are working hard to get information out to parents and caregivers.” Safe Kids Gwinnett encourages parents and caregivers to take the following steps to prevent heatstroke in children:
· Take immediate action. The body temperature of children rises three to five times faster than adults, and as a result, children are much more vulnerable to heat stroke
· Dial 911 immediately. If you see an unattended child in a car. Check vehicles and trunks if a child is missing
· Lock vehicles and trucks. Thirty percent of the recorded heat stroke deaths in the U.S. occur because a child was playing in an unattended vehicle. These deaths can be prevented by simply locking the vehicle doors to assure that kids don’t enter the vehicles and become trapped
· Create reminders. Many child heat stroke deaths occur because parents and caregivers become distracted and exit their vehicle without their child. To prevent this, consider the following reminders:
Place a cell phone, purse, briefcase or something that is needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This will help you see your child when you open the rear door and reach for your belongings.
Set the alarm on your cell phone/smartphone as a reminder to you to drop your child off at day care. If you have a smartphone, check out the Baby Reminder app, which will automatically monitor and determine when you are driving and when not.
Set your computer calendar program to ask yourself if you dropped of your kid at daycare. Establish a plan with your daycare that if your child fails to arrive within an agreed upon time that you will be called within a few minutes
Be especially mindful of your child if you change your routine for daycare
Get Involved. Advocate for stronger state laws to protect children from being left unattended in a motor vehicle
About Safe Kids Gwinnett
Safe Kids Gwinnett works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages one to 14. A nonprofit and local coalition of organizations, business and individuals, Safe Kids Gwinnett is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Gwinnett is led by Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services.
About the General Motors Foundation and Safe Kids Buckle Up
Beginning in 1997, General Motors and the GM Foundation have served as Safe Kids Buckle Up's exclusive funding source and helped build the program into a multifaceted national initiative, bringing motor vehicle safety messages to children and families through community and dealer partnerships. To date, more than 21 million people have been exposed to Safe Kids Buckle Up events and community outreach efforts. Certified child passenger safety technicians working through Safe Kids coalitions have examined over 1.4 million child safety seats at over 75,000 events and the program has donated over 520,000 seats to families in need.