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Heat stroke a risk for children as temperatures rise


silo-heatstroke_1-188x300-3029597-7042738As temperatures rise in northern Nevada, 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.

Since 1998, more than 600 children have died in the U.S. from heat stroke after being left in or becoming trapped in a vehicle – that’s one child every 10 days. In half of the cases, these children are simply “forgotten” by a distracted driver when they arrive at their destination. Other heat stroke fatalities occurred when a child was playing in an unattended vehicle and became trapped, or when a child was intentionally left unattended by an adult for just a few minutes.

A child is susceptible to heat stroke and even death on a 72-degree day with the temperature inside a car rising 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Heat stroke happens when the body cannot cool itself fast enough and the core temperature rises to dangerous levels. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down, and when that temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

“The overall goal of our “Not Even For A Minute” campaign is to make sure people are aware of the dangers in and around vehicles,” said Melissa Krall, Safe Kids Washoe County coordinator. “We want parents and caregivers to take proper steps so that this tragedy does not happen to them. Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere, but can be avoided with a little awareness and by taking a few simple precautions.”

To help prevent these tragedies, Safe Kids is asking everyone to help protect kids by remembering to avoid, create and take action (ACT):

Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.

Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

For more information on preventing heat stroke deaths, please call Safe Kids Washoe County at 775-858-5700, ext. 6227 or visit www.safekidswc.com, or www.safekids.org/nlyca.

Safe Kids Washoe County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children. Safe Kids Washoe County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Washoe County was founded in 2000 and is led by REMSA.

Miriam Hodgman
Miriam Hodgman
Miriam Hodgman is originally from San Francisco. She previously was the communications coordinator for the largest hunger-relief organization in Sonoma County, California. She has a bachelor’s degree in American history, with a minor in American Indian studies, from San Francisco State University, and has a master’s degree in public administration from Sonoma State University. She enjoys training a variety of martial arts.