ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A 2-year-old Shelby Township boy died this week after suffering a heatstroke. Since January, 33 children have died from heatstroke after being left in a hot vehicle.
"We join the community and family in mourning the loss of the boy," said Amber Kroeker, Safe Kids Huron Valley Coordinator and Injury Prevention Health Educator for Mott Children's Hospital. "This is a tragedy that is repeated about every nine days in this country. Half these children are unintentionally forgotten in a vehicle, about 25 percent gain access to a vehicle and can't get out, and the others are intentionally left in a vehicle. There is no safe way to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even for one minute."
Safe Kids Huron Valley is now urging parents and caregivers to take steps to try and avoid these types of tragedies. They are remind those 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 the car 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.
Since 1998, more than 550 children have died from heatstroke in the U.S. while being left unattended in cars. Every year, an average of 38 die.
Parents should be reminded that it does not have to be hot outside for the vehicle to get heated to a dangerous level.
"Safe Kids Huron Valley does not want this to happen to any family," said Kroeker. "We're participating in an education and awareness program that provides posters and tip sheets at childcare centers, doctor's offices and hospitals and police and fire stations. Teach your children to never play in a vehicle, and to honk the horn for help if they do become trapped inside a vehicle."
Safe Kids Huron Valley works to prevent unintentional child injury.
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