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Parents, prevent heatstroke by never leaving a child alone in a car

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Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 am, Thu Jun 26, 2014.

(BPT) - Warm weather is great for trips to the pool or beach, but not so good for the inside of cars, which can rise to deadly temperatures in a very short period of time.

Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get. Even on a mild 70 degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in 10 minutes and keep getting hotter with each passing minute. The temperature can continue to climb much higher than it is outside, and cracking the windows doesn’t help.

Since 1998, at least 617 children have died from heatstroke when left unattended in a vehicle. That’s one child every 10 days. More than half of these children were simply forgotten; something that can happen to the most loving and caring parents when their routine is changed. Other heatstroke deaths were a result of a child intentionally being left in a vehicle or climbing into a vehicle on their own and not being able to get out.

While hot temperatures in cars can be dangerous for anyone, children are especially susceptible to heatstroke because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than those of adults. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. A body temperature of 107 degrees can be fatal.

So what can parents and caregivers do to prevent heatstroke? Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation want to remind everyone to ACT with these three simple steps:

* A: 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.

* 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.

Losing a child to heatstroke is a tragedy that is completely preventable. To learn more about how to protect your child from heatstroke and other safety tips, visit safekids.org.

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