Safe Kids Geary County is aiming to prevent child heatstroke deaths this spring and summer by increasing community awareness of the dangers of leaving children alone in a vehicle.  As the temperature rises and summer calendars fill with activities and obligations, the risk of child injury or death due to hyperthermia increases.  According to the Safe Kids World Wide website, “Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. On average, every 8 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.”  While it may be tempting to leave a child in the car while making a quick run into the store, it is deadly.  According to Safe Kids World Wide, “Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies’ heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.”  These tragedies are preventable.

More than half of the children who die from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle.  Tragically, those caregivers mistakenly believed the child was safely at child care.  The Safe Kids Kansas website urges child care providers to prevent this scenario.  “If a child, who is scheduled to arrive at the center, does not arrive within the specified time frame in the written agreement signed by the parent, and they have not been notified in advance of the child’s absence, they should attempt to contact the parent or guardian to determine the child’s whereabouts.  All attempts, whether successful or unsuccessful, should be documented”

Geary County is joining in the Safe Kids World Wide effort to reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by reminding the community to “ACT”.

  • “A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
  • C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
  • T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.”

Safe Kids Geary County is making every effort to improve community heat stroke awareness before tragedy strikes.  Every Geary County resident and organization has a role to play.  Make sure your child is never left alone in a car and help us spread this life-saving information, today.

Safe Kids Geary County is a Geary County Health Department program, and a local coalition of Safe Kids Kansas, Inc., a nonprofit coalition devoted to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children.  For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths contact the Health Department at 785-762-5788, or visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke or www.safekidskansas.org/. 

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