KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Heatstroke is a killer and young children are at greatest risk of becoming victims. On average, eight kids die in hot cars every year across the country, and every one of those deaths can be prevented.
Dr. Katy Stordahl, emergency room doctor at Children’s Hospital, says these tragedies most often happen when a child is forgotten by a caregiver. This is the case 54% of the time and most often happens when we are doing something outside our normal schedule – a parent that doesn’t normally drop off child at daycare, for example – changes routine that day.
It can also happen when a child plays in an unattended vehicle. A curious child will get into a car and can’t figure out how to get back out.
During heatstroke, a child’s core temperature reaches 104 degrees quickly, leading to possible brain damage or even death. A child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body.
Never leave a child alone in a vehicle, even for a minute. Even the best parents can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car. Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time you exit the car. Put something like a cellphone, purse, work ID badge or briefcase in the back to require you to check.
Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.
Take action if you see a child alone in a car and call 911. One call could save a life.