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Teaming Up To Prevent Hot-Car Child Deaths

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(credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

(credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As temperatures rise in Texas, one government safety agency is working to reduce the number of children who are seriously injured or lose their life after being left alone inside a hot vehicle.

The Rowlett Police Department is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an effort to reduce the number of children found dead in hot cars.

Police are working to remind parents and caregivers of just how easy it is to get distracted and forget the little ones most precious to us. “If you can forget your keys, if you can forget your purse, if you can lose your glasses around the house when something’s going on… this is the same type of stuff,” explained Sergeant Dean Poos, with Rowlett police. “You’re distracted and it’s a child unfortunately and the loss is much, much more significant.”

Behind car crashes, heat stroke/hyperthermia is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15.

According to the NHTSA, one child, left in a hot vehicle, dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days.

Sergeant Poos said the goal of the Rowlett Police Department “Is to try to get people to stop and think.”

When taking into account that a child’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, Poos had some recommendations for caregivers. “Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.  Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time that you get out of your car. Put your keys out of reach,” he said. “Establish habits so that these type of needless accidents can be reduced.”

Adults should also realize that heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees.

Just a few “need to know” facts from the NHTSA –

  • Vehicles heat up quickly – even with a window rolled down two inches, if the outside temperature is in the low 80s° Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes.
  • Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years of age are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illness.
  • Children’s bodies absorb more heat on a hot day than an adult. Also, children are less able to lower their body heat by sweating. When a body cannot sweat enough, the body temperature rises rapidly.

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