Thumbs down: Don't leave kids vulnerable to heat stroke
It is difficult to understand how it could happen, but it does.
A parent or caregiver leaves a child inside a vehicle on a summer day and within a matter of 10-15 minutes the child is experiencing heat stroke.
Forty-four children died that way last summer, and already this summer, another 17 deaths have been confirmed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It almost happened again last week in West Virginia, but fortunately alert police officers found an 18-month-child, drenched in sweat in a car parked on Wheeling Island, before it was too late. After rescuing the child, officers arrested the 33-year-old father at a nearby residence, where he was found asleep on the couch.
"The majority of these cases are accidental tragedies that can strike even the most conscientious and loving parents and caregivers," Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said during a press conference. "But they can be stopped ... leaving a child unattended in a hot car is 100 percent avoidable."
While these incidents can involve people from all walks of life, researchers have noticed that those who are unaccustomed to transporting children are more prone to forget about the child and less aware of how quickly a vehicle can heat up.
When summer temperatures are in the low 80s, the inside temperature of a vehicle can reach dangerous levels in just 10 minutes -- even if windows are rolled down slightly. So caregivers are urged to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle -- even if the engine is running and the air conditioning is on.
Experts also suggest the driver put his or her phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat with the child as an extra step to make sure they don't walk off with the child inside. Especially during these hottest days of summer, bystanders should always call 911 if they see a child alone in a potentially hot vehicle.
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