As Communities Mourn Tragic Loss Due to Heatstroke, Families Seek Safety Information

ALTOONA – Safe Kids Blair County reminds caregivers of children not to leave children alone in a car to prevent heatstroke that can be fatal.

Eight children have died so far this year in the United States because they were left alone in a hot car. To learn more heatstroke safety tips, visit: www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

“These tragedies are absolutely heartbreaking, and a reminder for all of us to be aware of the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car,” said Sherry Turchetta, coordinator of Safe Kids Blair County and community educator at UPMC Altoona.

“Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get. And cracking the window doesn’t help. That’s why Safe Kids is asking everyone to help protect kids from this preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Bystanders can also help by calling 9-1-1 if they see a child alone in a car.”

It doesn’t have to be the middle of the summer for a child to get overheated. Even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, the temperatures inside a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke.

To help prevent these tragedies, Safe Kids, 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.

To reduce the number of heatstroke deaths and near misses by remembering, people must ACT.

o   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.

o   C: Create reminders by putting something on the backseat 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.

o   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.

Additional prevention information can be found at www.safekids.org/heatstroke, and statistics on child heatstroke deaths can be found at www.ggweather.com/heat.  For more safety information, please visit www.safekids.org.

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