Following two recent rescues of children left unattended in vehicles in two separate incidents in Lee County, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties reminds parents and caregivers to never leave a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.
May was the deadliest month on record for unattended children in vehicles with eight children dying throughout the country. There have been 10 hyperthermia deaths in the United States in 2013.
"These cases are what we refer to in health and safety as a 'near miss' incident, in which the event did not end in tragedy but had the potential to do so," Sally Kreuscher, coordinator for Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties, said. "Fortunately, both the toddler and the newborn were removed by rescue crews from the vehicles in time. These cases are sobering reminders that any child left unattended in a motor vehicle is at risk for injury."
Safe Kids offers the following tips to help parents and caregivers avoid the risk of heat-related injuries in motor vehicles by remembering to ACT:
- A - Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Make sure to keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids don't get in on their own.
- C - 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.
- T - 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.
Since 1998, more than 550 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. To help educate the community about the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties is providing posters and tip sheets to childcare centers, physician offices, hospitals, police and fire stations throughout Southwest Florida.
To learn how you can help spread the word, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke for more information.