The statistics are alarming. For children under 14, hyperthermia is the leading cause of vehicle deaths that don’t involve a crash. And already this summer, our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recorded 21 hyperthermia-related child deaths.
Every single one of these tragic deaths is entirely preventable--not a single child need ever lose their life in this horrible way.
To step up efforts to prevent these needless deaths, NHTSA convened a first of its kind roundtable with key stakeholders on Tuesday. Representatives from the automobile industry, car seat manufacturers, victims, researchers, consumer groups, and health and safety advocates joined NHTSA experts to discuss strategies for reducing child fatalities and injuries in hot vehicles.
One thing every one of us can do right now is remind our friends and family to be vigilant and never leave a child alone in or around a motor vehicle.
Graph courtesy New York Times "Wheels" blog
- Never leave infants or children unattended in a vehicle.
- Don’t let children play in an unattended vehicle.
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle, front and back, before walking away.
- Take steps to remember not to leave a child in a vehicle, such as:
- Write yourself a note and place it where you’ll see it when you leave the vehicle.
- Put your purse or briefcase in the back seat so you’ll be sure to see a child left in the vehicle.
- Keep something in the car seat, like a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, put the toy where you’ll notice it when you leave the vehicle.
- Call 911 immediately if you see a child left alone in a car. If they appear to be in distress, get them out and cooled down as quickly as possible.
You can view more safety tips for parents and caregivers here: www.nhtsa.gov/KeepingKidsSafe.
No matter the season, safety is always DOT’s number one priority. By following these tips and working together, we can make sure that America’s kids have a fun and safe summer.