Group fighting child deaths from heatstroke

VIDEO: Group fighting child deaths from heatstroke
Aslyn, 1, died of heatstroke in 2004 (Source: Deona Bien)
Aslyn, 1, died of heatstroke in 2004 (Source: Deona Bien)

A non-profit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in or around vehicles wants the government to create a device that would alert parents to their kids in the back seat.

Vice President Deona Bien, of, said there is plenty of technology in your car to help you with everyday things, but none to prevent you from leaving your child in the car.

"What's more important, a dead battery, or a dead child?" she said.

In 2015, 25 children died from heatstroke in the United States after being left in hot cars. So far 11 have died in 2016.

The most recent Wednesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where an eight-month-old died. stated this is a 275% increase compared to last year at the same time.

"Three seconds," Bien said. "Take a look in your backseat at your destination when you arrive there. It takes three seconds, and those three seconds can save a child."

Bien lost her little girl, Aslyn, to a situation that she's now trying to bring awareness to.

"She was one year old," she said. "Her babysitter was running errands with her, and inadvertently forgot she had her in the car, and she died from heatstroke in 2004."

As part of National Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevent and Awareness day, June 8, grieving parents sent a letter to Anthony Foxx, secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT), and Dr. Mark Rosekind, administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), calling for immediate action on the problem.

The families insist on technology to help prevent parents and caregivers from unknowingly leaving children alone in vehicles.

Despite some people's attempts at leaving air conditioning on for children and pets, that's not the safest bet.

"What if your car stopped all of a sudden," Bien said. "That wouldn't be a protection device at all."

"I've seen it here," said Dr. Matthew Wallen, MD. "I've taken care of people personally. It's devastating."

Dr. Wallen works in the emergency room at Trident Medical Center.

He said there's no safe time frame when it comes to leaving your children or pets inside a car.

"Leaving specifically a child inside a car for even ten or 15 minutes on a hot day can be a devastating problem," he said.

Temperature charts show an increase of 19 degrees inside your car after ten minutes, after 30 minutes, about 34 degrees higher than outside.

Bien said memory triggers will help you get in the routine of checking your backseat.

She advises parents and other to put purses, shoes, or stuffed animals there as a reminder to look in the back seat.

Other advice includes setting up an alert system with your child's day care center if you have one.

Have them call you if you forget to drop of your child.

Several cases this year have involved parents forgetting they had their children in the car during the morning hours, where they were supposed to drop their children off at day care.

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