For Immediate Release: August 13, 2014
Cumberland County Residents Recognized for Saving Child in Car
RALEIGH -- Five Cumberland County residents have been awarded the Badge of Courage Award by the N.C. Department of Insurance and Safe Kids North Carolina for their actions to save a child left unattended in a vehicle from potential heatstroke.
The Badge of Courage is part of the Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car initiative of Safe Kids Worldwide. The national initiative aims to prevent tragedies by educating people about heatstroke dangers and recognizing people who take actions that potentially save children's lives.
Safe Kids North Carolina Director Kelly Ransdell, on behalf of Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, presented the awards to Nakisha Shulanda Dunham, Jesus Montes, Annette McNeill Owens, Tania Isabel Semper and Andre Selwyn Semper. Joining Ransdell in the presentation was Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson, Fayetteville Fire Chief Benjamin Major, Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock and Safe Kids Cumberland County Coordinator Kassie Howard.
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 and 18 children have died across the United States during 2014.
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 the state.
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.
Annette McNeill Owens poses with her Safe Kids Badge of Courage Award.