The Norman Transcript

Crime/Courts

May 14, 2014

Trying to prevent heat stroke

NORMAN — The Norman Police Department wants busy and active parents to “check the back seat.” Hypothermia, commonly called heatstroke, can quickly cause death of a child when they are left inside a hot vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration listed risks associated with leaving children in cars:

· In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

· Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool.

· With outside temperatures in the 60s, your car can heat up to well above 110.

· A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adults

· Heatstroke can happen when the outside temperature is as low as 57.

According to a recent nationwide study released by San Francisco State University, at least four heat stroke deaths of children in vehicles have occurred this year. The study reported at least 44 deaths of children in vehicles during 2013 and at least 606 documented fatalities since 1998.

The fatalities occurred when children were either left in or not supervised around a vehicle. Of the 606 child vehicular heatstroke deaths, 52 percent of the deaths were caused when the caregiver “forgot” the child. The study also showed that 29 percent of the deaths occurred while children were playing inside an unattended vehicle.  

The Norman Police Department wishes to pass on the following safety precautions from the SFSU survey:

· Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

· If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911.

· Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.

· Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote-entry devices.

· If a child is missing, always check the pool first and then the car, including the trunk.

· Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.

· Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat, place the animal in the front with the driver, or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

· Make “look before you leave.”

· Have a plan that your child care provider will call you if your child does not show up for school by a designated time.

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