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Safe Kids Carroll: Never leave your child alone in a hot car, not even for a minute

To help prevent tragic and unnecessary deaths due to heatstroke, Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation teamed up to launch Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car, an education and awareness campaign geared toward parents and caregivers.

With the support of the GM Foundation, Safe Kids and its state-based coalitions are mobilizing their network of partners — police and fire departments, hospitals and doctors’ offices, government agencies, childcare centers, businesses and others — to alert citizens to the dangers that hot vehicles pose to children.

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How many of these facts did you know?

  • A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body.
  • On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.
  • A car can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. Cracking the window does not help.
  • Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states.
  • More than half of heatstroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot a quiet child was in the vehicle.
  • Creating reminders and habits is an effective way to ensure that a child is not forgotten in the vehicle.

The campaign encourages everyone to “ACT.”

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A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Always lock your doors and trunks — even in your driveway. And keep your keys out of the reach of kids.

C: Create reminders. Place something you’ll need at your next stop — like a briefcase or cellphone — next to the child safety seat. It might seem simple, but can be a helpful reminder on a chaotic day.

T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, take action. Call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations.

In addition to safety messages and events, Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car offers the Badge of Courage award, a recognition program for heroes who take action to prevent unattended child fatalities from heatstroke.

Maggie Rauser is Safe Kids Carroll County coordinator for the Carroll County Health Department.

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