Last updated: July 30. 2014 2:50PM - 187 Views

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XENIA — As summer temperatures rise across the country, it’s important to remember that while these summer days are great for the pool and the beach, they’re not so good for the inside of cars, where the heat can become deadly in very short period of time. The Greene County Combined Health District, along with Safe Kids, reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars.

Since 1998, at least 624 children across the United States have died in cars from heatstroke – that’s one child every 10 days. So far this summer, 18 children have died from heatstroke in cars.

Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and keeps getting hotter with each passing minute. And cracking the window doesn’t help.

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 an 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.

“The key to preventing these tragedies is for every parent and caregiver to understand that this can happen to anybody,” said Greene County Combined Health District Health Commissioner Melissa Howell. “It can also be avoided with a little awareness and by taking a few simple precautions.”

To help prevent these tragedies, Safe Kids, with the support of the General Motors Foundation, created Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car (NLYCAC) as part of its Buckle Up program, a national initiative established 17 years ago to keep children and families safe in and around cars.

The Greene County Combined Health District is joining Safe Kids in asking everyone to help protect kids 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.

On Thursday, July 31 the health district is teaming up with Safe Kids Worldwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the General Motors Foundation, for National Heatstroke Prevention Day. As part of the effort, a national day-long social media campaign is being launched to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children alone in hot cars.

Everyone is invited to spread the word. You can join the effort on Facebook and Twitter to post messages throughout the day and encourage everyone you know to do the same. For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

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