For Immediate Release: July 21, 2014
Craven County Man Recognized for Saving a Child Alone in Car
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, today awarded Mike Sawyer with a Badge of Courage Award for saving a child who was left unattended in a hot vehicle last week in Craven County. Goodwin joined Craven County Sheriff Jerry Monette in New Bern to personally recognize the local hero and used the opportunity to remind all caregivers to never leave a child alone in a car.
"Our state is extremely fortunate to have citizens like Mr. Sawyer," said Goodwin, who is also chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "Heatstroke tragedies happen far too often and can be prevented. Bystanders like Mr. Sawyer are a great example of how community members can take action to prevent heatstroke and ultimately save a child's life."
Since 1998, at least 623 children across the United States have died in cars from heatstroke – that's one child every 10 days. For every death, there are many more near misses in which children are rescued before a fatality. Nine North Carolina children have reportedly been rescued from cars so far this year.
July has historically been the deadliest month for heatstroke fatalities in North Carolina, even though a child can suffer heatstroke any time between February and November in our state.
To help prevent these tragedies, Safe Kids North Carolina and Safe Kids Worldwide, with the support of the General Motors Foundation, created Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car (NLYCAC) as part of its Buckle Up program, a national initiative established 17 years ago to keep children and families safe in and around cars.
The Badge of Courage is an important part of the NLYCAC program, recognizing those who take action to save children's lives. The key to preventing heatstroke tragedies is for every parent and caregiver to understand that this can happen to anybody.
Safe Kids North Carolina is asking everyone to help protect kids 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. 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.
For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, contact Safe Kids North Carolina toll-free at 1-888-347-3737or visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.
Safe Kids North Carolina, a program housed in the N.C. Department of Insurance, reaches out to parents, caregivers and children through 41 local coalitions operating in 71 counties across the state. For more safety tips and information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org.