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Posted on: July 20, 2020

National Heatstroke Prevention Day - Help Prevent Heatstroke Deaths in Children

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July 31st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day and Safe Kids Frederick County will hold a heatstroke display from 10 am – 4 pm at Baker Park near the William Talley Rec Center at Bentz and 2nd Streets. As warmer weather continues this year, Safe Kids Frederick County would like to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children, pets, and adults in hot cars. Cracking the window does not help cool down the temperature in the car. In 2018, 54 children died in hot cars, making it the deadliest year on record in the last 20 years. Last year, 53 children died in hot cars, nationwide. The National Safety Council stated that 14 children in Maryland have died due to hot cars, since 1998 and we have already had 6 deaths nationwide, this year. 

Safe Kids Coordinator Jessica Dayal states, “It is critical that parents and caregivers understand that it only takes a few seconds to minutes for the inside of the car to heat up and become deadly to a child in hot weather, even if it is not sunny. As summer temperatures rise, with longer days of warm weather, more people are at risk for heatstroke, especially during this trying time of the pandemic. If you see someone with flushed and dry skin or if you see a child or animal alone in a car, please check on them and call 911. Drink fluids and stay out of the sun for long periods”.

Important Facts  
•Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. 
•It occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. 
•Young children are particularly at risk since their bodies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults’ bodies. 
•When a child’s internal temperature gets to 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. And when that child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die. 
•A car can heat up to 19 degrees in 10 minutes and cracking a window does not help.  
•Symptoms can quickly progress from flushed, dry skin and vomiting to seizures, organ failure and death. 
•Most common reasons for unknowingly leaving children unattended in a vehicle are: 1) Changes in routine; 2) Simple distractions; 3) Miscommunication; and 4) Lack of sleep/fatigue.

Top Safety Tips
To help protect kids from this preventable tragedy, remember to ACT:
 
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.  
C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other mementos in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
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.

For more information on heatstroke prevention, visit SafeKids.org. For more information about Safe Kids Frederick County, visit https://health.frederickcountymd.gov/safekids

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