By Lauren Colley – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
On average, 37 children die from vehicular stroke (also known as hot car death) each year in the U.S., according to KidsAndCars.org.
In Georgia, 22 children died from vehicular heat stroke between 1998 and 2014, according to the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose University, including the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris on June 18, 2014.
In the majority of vehicular heat stroke cases, the person responsible loses awareness of the child’s presence in the car, and unknowingly leaves the child behind.
KidsAndCars.org suggeststhese tips for parents and caregivers to help prevent vehicular heat stroke tragedies:
1. Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
2. Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat.
3. Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit.
4. Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
5. Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled.
6. Keep vehicles locked at all times.
7. Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
8. Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.
9. When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.
10. If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.