Protect Against Hot Cars

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Car safety in hot temperatures

Wichita Area Safe Kids Coalition and Via Christi Outreach and Prevention urge you to never leave a child alone in a car.

Regrettably, 8 children have already died this year from being overheated in an unattended vehicle and more than 500 have died since records have been kept. This horrific, yet extremely preventable tragedy happens far too often -- an average of 38 deaths per year.

In over half of the cases, these children are simply "forgotten" by a distracted driver.
"This is a significant health concern as Safe Kids USA conservatively estimates that there are 1,000 to 2,000 near-misses every month," said Ronda Lusk, Safe Kids Wichita Area Coalition and Via Christi Outreach and Prevention coordinator.

Safe Kids USA has confirmed 250,000 cases of children trapped in vehicles. Thankfully, most have not resulted in a death. However, these estimates do not include calls to fire or police departments."

Here are important tips for keeping kids safe:

  • Take immediate action. The body temperature of children rises 3-5 times faster than adults, and as a result, children are much more vulnerable to heat stroke.
  • Dial 9-1-1 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble. Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child is missing.
  • Lock cars and trucks. Thirty percent of the recorded heat stroke deaths in the U.S. occur because a child was playing in an unattended vehicle. These deaths can be prevented by simply locking the vehicle doors to assure that kids don't enter the vehicles and become trapped.

Create reminders

Many child heat stroke deaths occur because parents and caregivers become distracted and exit their vehicle without their child. To help prevent these tragedies parents can:

  • Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or something that is needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This will help you see your child when you open the rear door and reach for your belongings.
  • Set the alarm on your cell phone/smartphone as a reminder to you to drop your child off at day care.
  • Set your computer calendar program to ask, "Did you drop off at daycare today?" Establish a plan with your daycare that if your child fails to arrive within an agreed upon time that you will be called within a few minutes.
  • Be especially mindful of your child if you change your routine for daycare.

Call for a Free Magnet

Wichita Area Safe Kids Coalition and Via Christi Outreach and Prevention welcomes you to call for a free magnet that parents can put on their vehicle to remind them to never leave a child alone. 

To request a magnet, call Via Christi Health Connection at 689-5700. 

Related Content

 Tip sheet for raising safe kids

 Checklist for raising safe kids 


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