SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4Utah) – As the days get warmer, it’s important to remember to never leave a child in a vehicle – even for a few minutes – to prevent heat-related injuries or even death. Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is offering the public free safety devices to serve as a reminder that a child is inside a vehicle to help prevent these injures.
Each year, about 40 children nationwide die after being left in a hot vehicle, and 2018 was the deadliest summer on record with 52 fatalities. In Utah, 12 children have died in hot vehicles since 1990, and others have suffered injuries in close calls.
These tragedies can happen to anyone, and often occur when caretakers forget a child is in the car, according to Jessica Strong, Community Health Manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
Stress, fatigue, and change of routine can push a person’s brain into autopilot, making it easier to forget. Summer is a time of heightened risk due to hot weather and changes in routine, including children out of school and families staying up late for activities.
To help provide caretakers with visual reminders that a child is in the vehicle, Primary Children’s is offering free Baby Safety Snaps at PrimaryChildrens.org/safetysnap.
The Safety Snap is a bright yellow lanyard printed with the words “Baby in Car.” The snap clicks into the car seat buckle where the straps connect in the 5-point harness. When you put your baby in the seat, you remove the lanyard and put it around your neck. When you arrive at your destination, the lanyard helps you remember the baby in the car.
Here are some additional ways we can help prevent heat-related injuries and deaths:
- Never leave your child alone in a vehicle – even for a few minutes. A child’s body temperature can increase 3-5 times faster than an adult’s body temperature. Cracking a window has very little effect on the temperature inside the car.
- Always check your vehicle before leaving it.
- Keep a visual reminder that a child is with you, like a stuffed animal or diaper bag in the seat next to you. Or, place something you’ll need when you arrive at your destination, like a cell phone or purse, in the backseat while driving.
- If you see a child left alone in a car, contact the police or call 911.
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