SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health is warning about vehicle heat dangers. So far this summer, 11 children have died from being left alone in hot cars across the nation.
52 children died in hot cars across the United States in 2018 making it the deadliest year on record over the past 20 years, according to the Department of Health.
Safe Kids Utah and Utah Department of Health (UDOH) are reminding parents that as warmer weather approaches that heat inside cars can rise to deadly temperatures in short periods of time. They say this can happen even during moderately warm days.
692 children across the U.S. died from heatstroke due to being left in a hot car from 2001 to 2018. Health officials say that is one child every 15 days.
Cambree Applegate, director of Safe Kids Utah at the UDOH said, “These tragedies are happening far too often. They are heartbreaking and preventable, and a reminder for all of us to be aware of the dangers of leaving a child alone in a hot car.”
Health officials say heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children.
Heatstroke happens when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
Young children are at a higher risk because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adult bodies, according to health officials. They say symptoms of heatstroke can quickly progress from flushed, dry skin and vomiting to seizures, organ failure and death.
“Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get. On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and keep getting hotter with each passing minute. You can only imagine what happens when the temperature outside is 100 degrees or more. And cracking the window doesn’t help,” said Applegate.
Health officials say major organs begin to shut down when a child’s internal temperature gets to 104 degrees.
Health officials say heatstroke-related deaths are preventable and have coined the acronym ACT to help protects kids. ACT Stands for:
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.
C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other mementos in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child. This will help you remember to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
Visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke for more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths.
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