Local News

Raleigh man helps raise awareness of heatstroke

Posted June 16, 2015 6:03 p.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2015 6:07 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man has turned his agony into action by helping raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children alone in hot cars.

Norman Collins' grandson, 3-month-old Bishop, died in 2011 after he was unintentionally left in a car while his parents were running late to church.

"Each one thought the other one had gotten the baby out, and they were in the service for about two hours and fifteen minutes," Collins said. "It was 93 degrees out while my grandbaby was left in the car with the windows up."

Collins spoke to attendees Tuesday at an event sponsored by Wake Human Services, in partnership with Safe Kids Wake County.

He hopes his story will help others understand the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car.

"The thing that haunts me most about it is him in the car crying," Collins said. "No one able to reach him or him reaching for someone and no one was there."

Suzanne Ledoyen, a public health educator with Wake County Human Services, said conditions don’t need to be especially hot for a child to die of heatstroke.

"Hypothermia can happen on a 70-degree day, in the shade with a window cracked," she said. "Children's bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults, and they have a difficult time cooling themselves. At 104 degrees a child's internal organs start to shut down and at 107, death is eminent."

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, there have been 34 fatalities since October 2014. Since 1998, more than 600 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while left unattended in hot cars.