can become lethal 'ovens' for young children
As temperatures rise this season, General Motors and the
National SAFE KIDS Campaign are urging people to be vigilant about preventing
heatstroke fatalities among children who are intentionally left or forgotten
in, or who gain access to a hot, unattended parked vehicle.
According to GM research, deaths heat-related deaths of children left
unattended in sweltering cars increased almost 70 percent from 2002
Since 1996, GM researchers have identified a total of 228 fatalities
based upon media reports, however, the actual number could be higher.
This year, GM researchers have already identified four fatalities. One
occurred in early March in Oregon, on a day when the high temperature
was less than 70 F.
This news is shocking and we are pleading with everyone
parents, bystanders and the news media to take action to help
prevent more of these tragedies from happening this year, said
Deb Nowak-Vanderhoef, a GM safety executive. We especially want
to reach out to bystanders who see unattended children in a hot vehicle,
to urge them to contact emergency services immediately. It could save
a childs life.
Since 2001, GM and SAFE KIDS have been educating the public on the dangers
of leaving children unattended in motor vehicles with a campaign called
Never Leave Your Child Alone.
Until now, education and outreach efforts have been aimed mostly at
parents and other people who transport children. This year the partner
organizations are extending their campaign to involve bystanders.
Many of these deaths happen when a child is left behind or forgotten
by an adult, while others occur when a child gains access to an unlocked
car and cannot get out, said Dr. Angela Mickalide, program director
of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. We want parents to know that
leaving a child alone in a vehicle, even for a few minutes, is never
OK. We also want people to know that if they see a small child alone
in a vehicle, they need to get help.
GM research shows that children also are dying when they gain access
to an unlocked vehicle, often in their own driveway, and then are not
able to get themselves out. GM and SAFE KIDS urge adults to lock vehicles
at all times and put the keys in a secure place and out of reach of
children even at home.
In studies commissioned by GM of Canada, Dr. Oded Bar-Or of McMaster
University in Hamilton, Ontario, has shown how susceptible children
are to heatstroke. The first study, completed in 2001, revealed that
a child left in a hot, closed vehicle in dry heat can face serious risk
of injury or death in just minutes. The second study, released in early
2003, showed that when substituting humid heat for dry heat, injury
or death can occur in half the time.
Previous research and real-world incidents have demonstrated that on
a warm, sunny day, even at temperatures as mild as 60 degrees Fahrenheit,
a closed vehicle can be lethal. Because a childs body temperature
increases three to five times faster than an adults and children
are not able to dissipate heat as efficiently as adults, every minute
counts when a child is trapped in a hot vehicle.
and SAFE KIDS tips
leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, even with a window
you see a small child who is unattended in a motor vehicle and
in need of help, contact emergency services.
lock your vehicle especially at home and keep
keys out of childrens reach.
sure all children leave the vehicle upon arrival at a destination.
Be especially careful if transporting children on a specific
day or time is not part of your normal routine. In the case
of infants that may be sleeping, get into the habit of placing
your purse or briefcase on the floor of the rear seat near where
the child is seated to make sure you have to go into the rear
seat before leaving the vehicle.
children not to play in, on or around vehicles.
children closely around vehicles, especially when loading and