CHOC would like to remind everyone to never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Since 1998, more than 550 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. Purple Ribbon Month is recognized annually during the month of August and serves as a reminder that it is never safe to leave a child unattended in a vehicle and in memory of all of the children that have lost their lives to these preventable tragedies.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is a condition that occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child’s internal temperature gets to 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down.
Symptoms may include dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat or hallucinations. Symptoms can quickly progress to seizures, organ failure and even death.
Safe Kids Worldwide recommends to always ACT:
AVOID heatstroke related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car. Make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
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.
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.
Remember, it takes very little time for a child to be at great risk of death or injury when alone in a car. For more information, please visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.