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EDITORIAL: Hot car deaths are completely preventable

on Monday, 16 May 2022. Posted in Editorials, Local News

EDITORIAL: Hot car deaths are completely preventable

    In the hottest months of the year, and they are fast approaching, the danger of pediatric vehicular heatstroke, commonly referred to as “hot car deaths,” rises.

     Heatstroke can occur throughout the year as temperatures inside a vehicle can reach life-threatening levels even on mild or cloudy days. Children are particularly vulnerable to hot car deaths as their bodies’ ability to maintain internal body temperatures are not as efficient as an adult’s and their body temperature warms at a rate of 3 or 5 times faster than adults.

        The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reports that the state has had 22 deaths in hot cars since 1998. Last year was particularly deadly with three deaths in the state. The average date of the first death of the year is March 24.

      “A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes, and cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Kevin Poore, Safe Kids South Carolina director. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family, or any child. That’s why DHEC is asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.

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

   • C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.

    • 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.

        “Hot car deaths” are 100% preventable and, according to the National Safety Council, generally are the result of three primary circumstances: A caregiver forgetting a child in a vehicle, a child gaining access to the vehicle and someone knowingly leaving a child in a vehicle.

          Accidental scenarios are terrible and every precaution is to be taken to prevent them, and knowingly leaving a child in a car is unthinkable. Don’t let it happen.

           Remember, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “temperatures can climb from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes, to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes.”

      For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

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