Thursday, 15 April 2010

Safe Kids USA, Automakers Join Hands to Prevent “Forgotten Child” Deaths

These are some of the most preventable and most shocking deaths in America. To most California child injury lawyers, it seems completely surreal that a parent or caregiver would leave a child in a car, in conditions that ultimately causes the child's death. Yet between 1998 and 2009, 445 children died after they were left unattended in vehicles that simply became too hot. The cause of death in all the fatalities was the same - heatstroke.

More than half of the fatalities were caused by adults who forgot that they had left the child in the vehicle. Thirty percent of the deaths involved children who were left unattended by an adult and managed to get into a vehicle, ultimately dying of a heatstroke.

This year, automobile manufacturers and children's health and safety organizations are coming together for a common cause - to ensure that 2010 is the year when not a single fatality is caused by a child left unattended in an unbearably hot vehicle. Safe Kids USA and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have announced a partnership with more than 40 safety and health organizations around the country to increase awareness about the risks of leaving children unattended in a vehicle even for a few seconds.

Most parents or caregivers who do this are unaware that temperatures can rise quickly in the confines of a locked vehicle. Before long, a child could be in an environment with temperatures of up to 130°F. Small children and infants are at a special risk of heat stroke in a situation like this. These small bodies heat up more than five times faster than an adult's body does. Little children may not know how to open a window, or open the door to get themselves out of that situation.

Safe Kids USA and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is encouraging people to:

  1. Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, not even for a few minutes.
  2. Discard the notion that opening the window a crack will keep the car ventilated, and the children safe. Cracking windows does little to cool down the internal temperatures in the vehicle.
  3. Call 911 if you notice a child has been left unattended in a vehicle.

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