Who knew? I certainly didn’t and that highlights the urgent need for raising awareness of children suffering heatstroke when they are left in cars. The Office of Emergency Medical Services at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with Safe Kids Worldwide, promoted July 31st as a day to engage on social media websites to highlight the dangers of heat, kids and cars. But why all the fuss? At least 24 children have died so far in 2013 from heatstroke and we have a ways to go with summer temperatures.
You can see the jointly issued safety advisory here. The idea behind the social media blitz is to generate a concerted conversation aimed at promoting ways to prevent tragedies that are one hundred percent preventable. As noted in the Safety Advisory, parents and caregivers are encouraged to adopt the following precautions to reach the prevention goal:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and,
- Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.
Although National Heatstroke Prevention Day has come and gone for this year, we would all do well to keep these simple precautions in mind on a daily basis.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.