Heatstroke prevention, child safety top priorities for social media campaign

Published: Jul. 31, 2014 at 4:04 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2014 at 4:36 PM EDT
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Nearly every 10 days, a child dies from being left in a hot vehicle, according to the safety experts. There have already been at least 19 children who died after being left in hot cars this year, according to a San Francisco State University study.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Safe Kids Worldwide and the Administration for Children and Families are teaming up for National Heatstroke Prevention Day to help prevent future tragedies.

Leaving a child unattended in a hot vehicle can lead to heatstroke and turn deadly in just minutes, according to a release from the the US DOT.

The SFSU study also revealed at least 44 children in the United States lost their lives in 2013, an increase of 10 children from 2012. An unknown number were moderately to severely injured but survived.

The effort Thursday will consist of social media posts on Facebook and Twitter featuring safety tips from NHTSA's "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock" campaign.

Safety tips will include:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn't show up for care as expected;
  • Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the car seat;
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach;
  • Community members who see a child alone in a vehicle should immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress because of heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.

Parents should visit or for more information.

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