A growing number of incidents across the country in which young children have died after being left inside a hot car have shocked child safety advocates and parents. In Georgia, state agencies are trying to draw attention to the fact that over the next few weeks, children in Atlanta and across the State are going to be at an increased risk of dying from such preventable incidents.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mark National Heat Stroke Prevention Day. The goal was to increase awareness about the fact that any parent is at risk of making these dangerous mistakes. According to the NHTSA, more than 50% of all car- related heatstroke fatalities involving children are caused when a parent or caregiver unintentionally leaves a child behind in the car. In 29% of the cases, the child manages to get inside the car on his or her own, and is unable to get himself out.
This year alone, there have been 17 child fatalities from heatstroke. There is no doubt that these tragedies were all preventable. While calls for technology that could help alert parents when their children are in the backseats before they get in the car are increasing, there is no doubt that this is a problem that can be avoided by taking simple steps.
Never leave a child unattended around the car for any reason. That doesn’t simply involve leaving children behind in a car. It also involves making sure that children are nowhere around an unlocked car. A child can easily access the car, and lock himself inside in just a few seconds. Make sure that your car is always locked, and make sure that the car keys are away from the child.
Whenever you exit the car, make it a point to check the backseat. Don’t think that these are mistakes that only happen to other people. In all the 17 fatalities that occur this year, parents and caregivers were 100% sure that these incidents would never happen to them.
Look out for children locked in vehicles during the summer. If you find a child in a locked vehicle, call 911 immediately. Don’t run around looking for the child’s parents.
This is a growing safety concern, and the statistics are distressing.Federal and State government agencies believe that heatstroke is the biggest cause of non-accident vehicle fatality for children below the age of 14. Every 10 days, one child in the United States dies from heat stroke after being left alone inside a hot car. In a vehicle with closed doors and windows, the temperature can rise quickly enough to cause suffocation in under 10 minutes.