Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke

On average, 39 children die from Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke, or heatstroke in a car, every year. Since 1998, 855 children have died due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke. `There are a few ways that this can happen, but over half of PVH fatalities occur when a caregiver forgets that their children are in the back seat. 6 deaths have occurred in the U.S. in 2020 alone.

Here are some ways that you can make sure your child is safe through the summer months:

·         Understand the danger of a child being alone in the car. In just 10 minutes, the inside of a parked car can raise a deadly 20 degrees. Children should not be left alone in the car, even for a moment. On a 70-degree day, the inside of a car raises to over 90 degrees in 10 minutes.

·         “Look Before You Lock” – Make a habit of looking in the back seat before locking your car. Put a window decal, sticker, hangtag, or another physical reminder in the front seat with you. These can be obtained from the office where you are reading this letter, or from the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara.

·         Place a stuffed animal in the car seat where your child sits. When you place your child in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front seat next to you as a reminder of your child being in the car. Be especially aware of children in rear-facing car seats.

·         When getting into the car, put your purse, briefcase, phone, or another item you cannot leave the car without in the backseat next to your child. Do this every time you get in the car to build the habit of checking the seat every time.

·         Talk to your child or listen to them talk while you drive – you will be spending quality time together and less likely to forget they’re in the car.

·         If you cannot find your child, check the pool and the car first. Older children can be taught to honk the car horn if they become trapped in the car.

·         Make sure vehicles are locked once everyone is out, and never leave car keys within reach of children. 25% of childhood heatstroke fatalities occur when children gain access to a car on their own and become trapped.

By using these tips, you can keep your children safe this summer. Heatstroke in a car is a preventable cause of death of children, and your children depend on you to keep them safe in the heat.

For more information, contact the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara at (716)285-0045

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