Government Officials, Southwest Florida Safety Advocates Join Safe Kids to Highlight Dangers of Child Heatstroke Deaths in Hot Cars

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2016

Government Officials, Southwest Florida Safety Advocates Join Safe Kids to Highlight Dangers of Child Heatstroke Deaths in Hot Cars
Safety advocates remind caregivers to never leave a child alone in a car and to be on the lookout for children unattended in cars

[Fort Myers, Florida] – As temperatures continue to rise, government officials and health professionals will be joining Safe Kids of Southwest Florida at the Florida Highway Patrol Office located at 10041 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers, Florida for a press conference on Friday, July 29, 2016 at 10:00 am that will discuss ways to prevent child deaths and injuries from heatstroke in hot cars.

Since 1998, more than 679 children have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. In 2016, there have been 21 deaths nationwide with two having occurred in Florida.

“These kinds of tragedies are 100 percent preventable,” said Safe Kids Coordinator Sally Kreuscher. “That’s why we’re calling on everyone to work together to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy. Whether you are a parent or caregiver, or just a concerned bystander, you can help save lives.”

Heatstroke sets in when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down, and when that temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

Safe Kids, with the support of the General Motors, created Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car (NLYCAC) as part of its Buckle Up program, a national initiative established 19 years ago to keep children and families safe in and around cars.

Parents, caregivers and bystanders are encouraged to help reduce the number of heatstroke deaths by remembering to ACT.

  • A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury 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.

Along with Safe Kids of SW Florida the Agencies/Officials that will participate at the press conference are Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Children and Families, Lee County Domestic Animal Services, South Trail Fire Department, Alligator Towing and Parent Advocates.

For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, please visit noheatstroke.org and www.safekids.org/nlyca.

Contact: Natalie Harrell, DCF Communications Director- Suncoast Region, Natalie.Harrell@myflfamilies.com, (813) 784-1898

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