For Immediate Release: May 31, 2011
"S'more dangerous than you think... Never leave your child alone in a car"
Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and Safe Kids N.C. warn about the dangers of hot cars
RALEIGH -- On average, 35 to 40 children across the country die from heat exposure in vehicles each year, and 2010, with 49 hyperthermia deaths, turned out to be one of the deadliest years on record for children two months to six-years-old.* In the past five years, at least ten children in North Carolina have died from hyperthermia after being trapped in hot vehicles.
Some of these deaths occur when a parent accidentally forgets a child in a car; some occur when a parent intentionally leaves a child in a vehicle. In other cases, a child was playing in an unattended vehicle when overtaken by heat.
"Sadly, these deaths are preventable," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, state chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "Leaving a child unattended in a car, even for a minute, is more dangerous than many people realize."
That's why Safe Kids North Carolina has launched a new safety campaign, with the slogan "S'more dangerous than you think… Never leave your child alone in a car." Safety experts show parents, caregivers and children how easy it is to bake a s'more in a vehicle to demonstrate how quickly the inside of a car can become dangerously hot.
With its soaring temperatures, July is historically the deadliest month for cases of vehicular hyperthermia in children in our state. However, the danger spreads from March through November due to the subtropical North Carolina climate. Hyperthermia can occur even on days with mild 70-degree temperatures. The temperature in a closed vehicle can rise about 20 degrees in 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes. Cracking a window has little effect.
Follow these safety tips from Safe Kids North Carolina:
- Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Check to make sure all children exit the vehicle when you reach your destination.
- Lock the doors when your vehicle is parked and store keys in a secure location. Teach children that cars are not places to play.
- Busy parents have a lot of their minds, so give yourself a reminder. Place your purse, briefcase or other important items in the backseat next to your child's car seat so you have to look in the back before leaving the car. Also, set a reminder on your cell phone or other mobile device to remind you to drop off children when routines change.
- Make an arrangement with your child's school or daycare that you will be notified if your child is not dropped off at the normal time.
- If you see a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
- Check vehicles and trunks first if a child goes missing.
Safe Kids North Carolina reaches out to parents, caregivers and children to prevent childhood injuries through 36 Safe Kids Coalitions working in 64 counties. For more information, visit www.ncsafekids.org.