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Safety experts remind parents not to leave kids in hot cars

Posted July 18, 2012
Updated July 19, 2012

— Hoping to ward off a summer spike in heat-related child deaths, state officials joined safety advocates Wednesday to remind parents that kids and hot cars don’t mix.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Safe Kids organization held a news conference and demonstration at Wake Tech Public Safety Educational Campus in Raleigh to draw attention to what happens when children are left inside vehicles during extreme heat.

In North Carolina, 19 children died from hyperthermia in vehicles between 1998 and 2011. Experts said these heat-related child deaths - which usually peak in July and August - are easily prevented.

“I know I speak for safety advocates everywhere when I say that losing one more child to this preventable tragedy is simply unacceptable,” said Wayne Goodwin, state chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. “We will work together at all levels, and in all communities, to save other families from enduring the heartbreak of a child’s heat-related vehicle death.”

Hot car demonstration Safety experts remind parents not to leave kids in hot cars

The event featured a statement from parent Reginald McKinnon, whose child died from hyperthermia, a sample 911 call and a rescue demonstration conducted by the Wake County Sheriff's Office, Wake County EMS and the Raleigh Fire Department.

Hyperthermic deaths and heat-related illnesses occur more often in children than adults, particularly children under 4 years of age. Even when outside temperatures are in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only five to 10 minutes.

Safe Kids offered these reminders and tips to prevent heat-related deaths:

  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Check to make sure all children exit the vehicle when you reach your destination.
  • Lock the doors when the vehicle is parked. Teach children that cars are not places to play.
  • Place a purse, briefcase or other important items in the backseat next to your child’s car seat to help you remember to look in the back before leaving the car.
  • Set a reminder on your cell phone or other mobile device to remind you to drop off children at school or daycare when routines change.
  • Make an agreement with your child’s school or daycare to be notified if your child is not dropped off at the normal time.
  • If you see a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
  • Check vehicles and trunks first if a child goes missing.

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  • Steve Mchugelarge Jul 19, 2012

    I cannot believe this is still a problem in this country

  • RNmomX4 Jul 19, 2012

    Storcheim, when you say "obligatory taxpayer supported 'agency,' are you referring to SafeKids? Do you even know what they are about? Check out their website www.safekids.org.

  • warbirdlover Jul 18, 2012

    I couldnnever forget. My kids are constantly saying Daddy please turn off the radio, it's boring me to death. Please daddy please. Inenjoy listening to WUNC Public Radio. I love "The State Of Things" "Prairie Home Companion" "Car Talk with Click & Clack" "BBC World News" "This American Life" "Talk Of The Nation" and many more shows. Please Daddy I want to stab my eardrums out. Please Daddy.

  • Walkin Man Jul 18, 2012

    You have to be reminded not to leave a child in a hot car? Or left unattended in a car EVER? What's wrong with people!!

  • frazee Jul 18, 2012

    Leaving kids in Dunn seems to be alright. Two weeks ago police where called about four kids left in a car at Walmart. One was a little newborn baby. The lady wasn't charged because she was only in the store for seven minutes before she was found. Only in Dunn!

  • mmtlash Jul 18, 2012

    perhaps if the parent left their cell phone in the back seat with the child they would be more apt to remember to get the child out of the car...plus it would save them the temptation of texting and driving...win win

  • Scubagirl Jul 18, 2012

    NO ONE has said that a purse, computer etc is more important than a child, not once! What was meant by the suggestion is that a purse etc is something you ALWAYS have with you while maybe not the child. I agree, the child IS more important, hands down-no question, but for those who need a reminder perhaps it's not a bad idea at all.

  • storchheim Jul 18, 2012

    Fair enough, mpheels, but is a PSA and its obligatory companion taxpayer supported "agency" likely to fix that scenario? No.

  • jblake1932 Jul 18, 2012

    What did I tell ya last week? Every day it is gonna rain in Raleigh, the asphalt capital of the State!

  • iron fist Jul 18, 2012

    Obamanation leaving children is a hot car is not a mistake, people leave children in the car by choice a poor choice