Ann Arbor, Mich. - The tragic death of a 2-year-old Shelby Township boy this week is the second heatstroke fatality of a child in Michigan this year. Regrettably, since January 33 children have died from heatstroke after being left alone in a hot vehicle.
“We join the community and family in mourning the loss of the young boy,” said Amber Kroeker, Safe Kids Huron Valley Coordinator and Injury Prevention Health Educator for Mott Children’s Hospital. “This is a tragedy that is repeated about every 9 days in this country. Half these children are unintentionally forgotten in a vehicle, about 25 percent gain access to a vehicle and can’t get out, and the others are intentionally left in a vehicle. There is no safe way to leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even for one minute.”
Unfortunately, no one is immune to this kind of tragedy. Parents and caregivers can cut down the risk by remembering to ACT.
· A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in the car on their own.
· C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse, or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
· 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.
“Safe Kids Huron Valley does not want this to happen to any family. We’re participating in an education and awareness program that provides posters and tip sheets at childcare centers, doctor’s offices and hospitals and police and fire stations. Teach your children to NEVER play in a vehicle and to honk the horn for help if they do become trapped inside a vehicle,” said Kroeker.
Since 1998, more than 550 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. An average of 38 children die every year, and for every child who dies, hundreds more are rescued. It does not have to be hot outside for the car to heat up to a dangerous level. Light pouring through the windows of the car stays within the car and raises its temperature.
You can help us spread the word to your community to stop these preventable tragedies. Additional prevention information can be found at www.safekids.org/heatstroke, and statistics on child heatstroke deaths can be found at www.ggweather.com/heat.
Safe Kids Huron Valley, which includes Livingston and Washtenaw counties, works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children through age 14. Throughout the world, almost 1 million children die of injuries each year, and every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids Huron Valley is a member of Safe Kids Michigan and Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Huron Valley is proudly led by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Visit Safe Kids Huron Valley on Facebook.