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Summer heat poses danger to children in vehicles

By Staff | Jul 3, 2019

The summer season is in full swing across Southwest Florida, which means the sun is shining and temperatures are on the rise. This extra sunlight and heat can make cars left outside into death traps in just a few minutes.

Temperatures inside a vehicle can soar to 175 degrees under Florida’s blistering sun and a child can experience a debilitating heatstroke or worse within minutes of being left in a vehicle. Heatstroke occurs when the body is not able to cool itself rapidly enough. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body, making them more vulnerable to heatstroke. Major organs begin to shut down when a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees and when that temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 2018 was the deadliest year on record for hot car deaths among children in the United States with 58. There have been 13 deaths so far in 2019.

“These kinds of tragedies are 100 percent preventable,” Sally Kreuscher, Safe Kids coordinator at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, said. “Simple steps and reminders can go a long way toward keeping children safe, whether you’re a parent, caregiver or concerned bystander, you can help save lives.”

Kreuscher recommends some simple steps to prevent a tragedy:

– Never leave your child alone in a car, even for a minute.

– Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone that you need at your destination. This is particularly important if you are not following your normal routine.

– Keep your car locked when you are not in it so kids do not find their way in on their own.

– Call 911 if you see a child alone in a car. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations and your call could save a life.