National Heatstroke Prevention Day is May 1, 2021. Marie Crew, the director of SAFE Kids Alabama of Children’s Hospital of Alabama, was gracious enough to speak with Birmingham Mom Collective about this important topic.
Did you know that since 1998, 882 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke? All these deaths were preventable.
Of those 882 children:
- 53% were were forgotten by a parent or caregiver and left in the car,
- 26% occurred when children somehow gained access to the car (unbeknownst to their caregiver),
- 20% were left knowingly–not for the intent to harm–but because a caregiver ran inside the house or a store to do something really quick.
Even on cool days, a car can heat up 19 degrees higher than the outside temperature. That number goes up even higher on hot days. A car is like a greenhouse: the car takes in the sun’s rays and the interior heats up quickly. On top of that, children don’t sweat out heat as quickly as adults. Their temperature gets hotter faster, even in the shade, even with a window cracked.
Sadly, Alabama is one of the top states for car-related heatstroke deaths. Thankfully Marie gave us some ideas to make sure Alabama children–and children everywhere–stay safe.
Ideas You Can Use
- Keep your car locked and your keys out of the reach of children. If your child is missing and not answering when you call out their name, first check the water (pool or bathtub), and then check the cars and car trunks.
- Take your shoe off and place it in the backseat of your vehicle. When you go to retrieve your shoe to get out of your car, you’ll be reminded to get your child out of the car seat.
- Buy a car seat with technology that connects to an app on your smartphone that will alert you if your phone moves far away from an unlatched car seat buckle.
- Set an alarm on your phone for ten minutes after you expect to drop off your child at–say–daycare to remind you to always get your child out of the car.
- If you see someone else’s child in an enclosed car in a parking lot, call 911 immediately.
- If you do find your child–or any child–in a hot car, give them something cool to drink, check to see if they’re coherent, and if there’s any question at all, get to the nearest ER or call 911. Never hesitate. It can happen to anyone, and it’s best to get immediate attention.
For further reading, statistics, and tips, check out these websites below. We’re all in this together, and in this case, knowledge is power.