AAA Reminds Motorists to Look before you Lock, Warns about the Dangers of Heatstroke and Leaving Kids in Hot Cars

baby decal tlsSummer is here, temperatures are rising and AAA wants to remind motorists to Look before you Lock; don’t leave anyone in a hot car. Outside of car crashes, heatstroke is the number one killer of children. AAA has joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind parents and caregivers about the deadly consequences of leaving children in hot cars and to urge them to “look before you lock.”

Statistics show that on average, 36 children die in overheated cars every year in the United States. Many of the reported deaths occurred because children were “forgotten” by a caregiver or the kids were playing in an unattended vehicle.  “Sadly, every year, children mostly under the age of two, tragically die from being left in hot cars,” says Sue Madden, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Even if you have to put a reminder post-it note on your dashboard, an alarm on your phone, or a stuffed animal in the front seat to remember to take a child out of the car, do it.”

According to NHTSA in 2015, 24 children died in cars from heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees, the sweating mechanism fails and the body is unable to cool down. It becomes lethal at a core temperature of 107 degrees. Heatstroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. And on an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly temperature levels in just 10 minutes.

A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees. Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; nausea; confusion; or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately and while waiting for emergency help, cool the child rapidly by spraying them with cool water.

AAA urges all parents and caregivers to:

1) NEVER leave a child in an unattended vehicle

2) Make it a habit to look in the backseat EVERY time you exit the car

3) ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach.

4) And, if you ever see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 right away.


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