In 2014, 30 children died of heat stroke, and there were a staggering number of near misses—children who were rescued before a fatality.
Already, in 2015, there have been 10 heat stroke-related deaths. July and August are the months with the highest average number of deaths from heat stroke.
Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. The child can die when its temperature reaches 107 degrees.
A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes, and cracking a window doesn’t help. Symptoms can quickly progress from flushed, dry skin and vomiting to seizures, organ failure and death.
Parents and caregivers can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.
- A: Avoid heat stroke-related injuries 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.
The Safe Kids Mid-Carolinas Region Coalitionworks to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children. Safe Kids Mid-Carolinas Region is led by FirstHealth Community Health Services in partnership with local law enforcement and fire departments.
Based on the needs of the community, this coalition implements evidence-based programs, such as car-seat checkups, safety workshops and sports clinics, that help parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries. Services are offered in Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond and Scotland counties.
For additional information, call (910) 417-3735.