In July of each year, Collierville Fire & Rescue kicks off its annual campaign designed to heighten awareness of the dangers of leaving children in vehicles. The Heat Kills campaign relies on stickers and posters, which remind people to not leave children in vehicles. The stickers urge individuals to report children left in cars by calling 9-1-1.
Each year, firefighters from across the Mid-South respond to hundreds of calls regarding children left in hot vehicles. Temperatures in parked vehicles without the air conditioning running during summer months can range from 120 to 170 degrees. Tests have shown that the temperature can soar to 134 degrees in less than five minutes!
Our goal is to get the word out as much as we can and prevent any of these deaths from happening this summer. Thanks to Battalion Chief Tim Rice, who spearheaded the project. Now we need everyone's help. Please get the word out before it gets too hot and maybe we can prevent a needless death of a small child this summer.
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police.
If a child is in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible,
cool the child rapidly and call 9-1-1 immediately.
Symptoms include : dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations.
A core body temperature of 107 degrees F is considered lethal as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down. Children's thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult's and their body temperatures warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adults.
Disasters Happen Quickly
You live by your daily routine and it helps you get things done. Be extra careful, though, if you have to change any part of that routine. This is more likely to happen when you, or caregiver who helps with your children, forgets that a child is in the back seat. This can and does happen when you break a well-established routine.At other times, you are on your way home and realize you need to stop in at the store and pick up one or two things for dinner. So, you leave your child unattended, thinking, I'll just run into the store for a minute.
Even cool temperatures in the 60s can cause the temperature to rise well above 110° Fahrenheit inside your car. The inside temperature can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes. Some children die in hot cars after climbing into an unlocked vehicle without an adults' knowledge. Once in the vehicle, they may become confused by the door opening mechanism or trapped in the trunk, and unable to get out before heatstroke occurs.
Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
Make a habit of looking in the vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.
If you are dropping your child off at childcare, and normally it's your spouse or partner who drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure the drop went according to plan. Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
Writing yourself a note and putting the note where you will see it when you leave the vehicle
Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle.
Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children's reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars:
2011 = 11
2010 = 49
1998 to present = 513
Average number of U.S. child hyperthermia fatalities per year since 1998 = 38
Average elapsed time and temperature rise:
10 minutes ~ 19 deg F
20 minutes ~ 29 deg F
30 minutes ~ 34 deg F
60 minutes ~ 43 deg F
1 to 2 hours ~ 45-50 deg F
An examination of media reports about the 494 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths for a thirteen year period (1998 through 2010) shows the following circumstances:
51% - child "forgotten" by caregiver (253 children)
30% - child playing in unattended vehicle (150 children)
8% - child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (86 children)
1% - circumstances unknown (5 children)
Children that have died from vehicular hyperthermia in the United States (1998-2010) have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years. More than half of the deaths are children under 2 years of age. Below are the percentage of deaths (and the number of deaths) sorted by age:
Less than 1 year old = 31% (151 children)
1-year old = 23% (113 children)
2-years old = 21% (102 children)
3-years old = 13% (62 children)
4-years old = 6% (28 children)
5-years old = 3% (15 children)
6-years old > = 11% (26 children)
Please share these important safety tips with your childcare providers, teachers, relatives, friends, family and neighbors... It could save a life!