The Sun KILLS!

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Summer has reached us for full force all around parts of the world, and in this time of sunshine and happiness tragic things occur. Every year there is sadly at least one incident in the media of a parent leaving their child in the car.
Luckily this doesn’t always end in tragedy, but far too often it does.

In the US so far this year, 15 children have died as a result of heat stroke from being left in the car.

*So far in 2013 there have been at least fifteen deaths of children unattended in vehicles; seven which has been confirmed as heatstroke and eight which, based upon the known circumstances, are most likely heatstroke (2013 list).  Last year there were at least thirty-two deaths of children (see 2012 list) due to hyperthermia (heatstroke) after being left in or having gained access to hot cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s.  Since 1998 there have been at least 575 documented cases of heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles.  This study shows that these incidents can occur on days with relatively mild (i.e., ~ 70 degrees F) temperatures and that vehicles can reach life-threatening temperatures very rapidly.* - http://www.ggweather.com/heat/

  • Circumstances
    • An examination of media reports about the 559 child vehicular heatstroke deaths for an thirteen year period (1998 through 2012) shows the following circumstances:
      • 52% – child “forgotten” by caregiver (288 Children)
      • 29% – child playing in unattended vehicle (163)
      • 18% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult  (100)
      • 2% – circumstances unknown (9)
  • Ages
    Children that have died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States (1998-2012) have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years.  More than half of the deaths are children under 2 years of age.  Below are the percentage of total deaths (and the number of deaths) sorted by age.
    • Less than 1 year old = 31% (171)
    • 1-year old = 22% (122)
    • 2-years old = 20% (109)
    • 3-years old = 14% (78)
    • 4-years old = 6% (33)
    • 5-years old = 3% (17)
    • 6-years old = 2% (9)
    • 7-years old = < 1% (2)
    • 8-years old = 1% (3)
    • 9-years old = < 1% (2)
    • 10-years old = 1% (3)
    • 11-years old = < 1% (2)
    • 12-years old = < 1% (1)
    • 13-years old = < 1% (1)
    •  14-years old = < 1% (2)
    • Unknown = < 1% (2)

- Info grabbed from http://www.ggweather.com/heat/

The European Safety Alliance writes this on their info fact sheet:

Did you know that:
• During warm weather, car temperatures can rise 10 to 15
degrees Celsius every 15 minutes! Opening windows does not significantly slow down
the rate of temperature change.1
• A child’s body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s due to lower water
reserves. 2
• Hyperthermia can occur in as little as 20 minutes, and fatalities within 2 hours.
Hyperthermia can occur on days as cool as just 22 degrees Celsius, when the inside of
a car can easily reach 47 degrees Celsius.3
• Most of the victims of hyperthermia incidents in cars are between 0 – 4 years of age.1

They also have some good presentational tips for  you:

Prevention Tips
• Dial 112 immediately if you see a child or children alone in a car.
• Place your personal items (purse, telephone, briefcase) on the floor of the backseat. That
way you are more likely to remember that the child is with you when you exit the car.
• Place the child’s personal items (diaper bag, bottle) in the front seat as a reminder to you.• Add a “reminder” to your computer calendar programme or telephone to ask if you dropped
your child/children off at day care/pre-school today.
• Whenever there is a change in drop off and pick up arrangements, confirm the plans with
your partner.
• Arrange that your day care provider or babysitter will call you if the child is not dropped off
when expected.
• Lock your car doors and trunk once everybody has exited the vehicle. Keep keys out of
reach of children.

Full fact sheet found <<HERE>>

All in all the most important thing we can do is make sure to always check the back seat before leaving the vehicle!
When I’m at a parking lot I always scan the cars around me just to make sure.
Just so far this year in Norway, there has been no less then two cases in the media of a small infant left alone in the car. Luckily for both they were discovered,saved and are today live and well. Both cases was where a parent left the child knowingly “for for a bit” to do the grocery shopping, or in the other case it was to go have lunch…sigh…
In both cases a person broke into the car to get the child out, as is the right thing to do in my honest opinion, if I saw a child in a car all alone on a hot day (doesn’t have to be sunny!) in obvious distress I don’t think I would think twice about breaking in to save the child! You can also ring the police before you break in and request permission, which is then given, this takes care of any problems that could occur with insurance.
That said, I would still break in if the child seamed to be ‘sleeping’.

So please! Check the back seat before you exit and PLEASE don’t EVER leave a child (or dog for that matter) in the car alone in these summery months!!

Useful links of info:

http://www.safekids.org/heatstroke
http://childcare.about.com/od/caregonewrong/a/leftincar.htm
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/index.shtml
http://www.safercar.gov/parents/heatstroke.htm
http://www.childsafetyeurope.org

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