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Safe Kids Washoe County warns of heat stroke in children as temps rise



As temperatures rise this summer, Safe Kids Washoe County is working to increase awareness and urge caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle with its “Not Even For A Minute” campaign that points out that even one minute is too long to leave a child unattended in an automobile. Regrettably, already 18 children have died this year from being overheated in an unattended vehicle. Between 1998 to now, more than 500 children died from hyperthermia or heat stroke when unattended in a vehicle. In half of the cases, these children are simply “forgotten” by a distracted driver when they arrive at their destination.

“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, and unattended children have no way of protecting themselves in a hot vehicle” says Melissa Krall, Safe Kids Washoe County coordinator. “The overall goal of our Not Even For A Minute campaign is to make sure no more children will die in 2011 because they were unattended in a vehicle. We want parents and caregivers to take precautions so that this tragedy does not happen to them.”

When left unattended by an adult, 30 percent of affected kids gained entry into an unlocked vehicle, became trapped and were overcome by heat. It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car. Drivers must keep car doors locked and keys out of reach from young children.

  • Safe Kids Washoe County urges all adults who transport children to take the following steps:
  • Call 911 if they see a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Never leave children alone in a car – even for one minute.
  • Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you drop your child off at daycare.
  • Set your computer “Outlook” program to ask you, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
  • Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of the child in a back seat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child.
  • Have a plan with your child care provider to call you if your child does not arrive when expected.
  • Keep keys and remote entry key fobs out of children’s reach.
  • Lock all vehicles at all times.
  • Check cars and trunks first if a child goes missing.

For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths, please call Safe Kids Washoe County at 858-5700 or visit www.ggwweather.com/heat and www.safekids.org/nlyca.

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