#HeatStrokeKills: Raise Awareness of Child Deaths in Hot Cars with @AskPatty, @KidsAndCars, @NHTSA
Four children have died in hot cars across the nation in the last week, bringing the number of child vehicular heatstroke deaths in 2016 to 23. That's just two fewer than ALL of these types of fatalities in 2016, and an especially tragic number, considering these terrible deaths are 100% preventable.
All day on Sunday, July 31, 2016, AskPatty will be joining KidsandCars.org and NHTSA in a national day-long social media campaign to share messages with the hashtags #NoMoHeatStroke #heatstrokekills #checkforbaby to raise awareness of the dangers of heatstroke.
As of July 25, 23 children have died in 2016 as a result of vehicular heatstroke, and we're only halfway through the year. In 2015, 25 children died in hot cars, the lowest number in more than ten years; more than 30 died in 2014, and 44 died in 2013, according to KidsandCars.org. Please watch our Twitter and Facebook feeds to share these messages yourself.
Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle can lead to heatstroke and can kill in just minutes: children are at such a great risk for heatstroke because a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s. When the internal body temperature reaches 104 degrees, children’s organs start to shut down. And when it reaches 107 degrees, the child can die. We simply cannot accept these deaths as tragedies and move on. KidsAndCars.org has been in the forefront of this issue, working to ensure technology is added to vehicles that can prevent these heartbreaking deaths.
Each year in the U.S., an average of 37 children die in hot cars. About half of the children under age 14 who die of in-vehicle heatstroke do so as a result of being forgotten, reports Jan Null, certified consulting meteorologist at the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science San Jose State University. It happens quickly: it can take only ten minutes to raise a car's temperature by more than 20 degrees. Even on a cloudy day with an outside temperature of just 60 degrees, a car's interior temperature can reach 110 degrees; imagine how quickly it can happen on a hot summer day. That’s why it’s so important to never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.
The auto industry already recognizes that we're human and our memories often fail us. Today our cars are able to warn us if we leave our headlights on, our keys are in the ignition, our car door is open, if we are low on gas, and if our seatbelt isn’t buckled. But if a child is left behind, it can be fatal.
General Motors is the first manufacturer to address this child safety concern with the Rear Seat Reminder in its 2017 GMC Acadia midsize sport utility vehicle. This industry-first feature is designed to remind drivers to check the back seat when they exit their vehicle under certain circumstances, and can help parents remember their children or other objects that may be forgotten in the back seat. Today, technology saves your car battery. Tomorrow, it could save your child. Learn more about this groundbreaking new safety technology here at AskPatty.com.
Other life-saving child safety initiatives KidsAndCars.org spearheaded include adoption of federal safety standards requiring all vehicles be equipped with trunk release latches to prevent trunk entrapment, safer power window switches to prevent children from being strangled, and brake transmission shift interlock systems so children cannot inadvertently knock a vehicle into gear. Most recently a federal DOT rule was issued requiring rear visibility systems as standard equipment on all new passenger vehicles by May 2018.