I saw this image posted by our local National Weather Service, and it struck a tone with me. Not just because we have 5 children, but because of how serious this can be.
Now, I do not like hot weather anyway (long story why we are in Mississippi despite that!), so I tend to come to a crawl, or a full stop, in hot weather.
But that is not the case for everyone. Warm weather means sporting activities, vacations, yard work, and many other activities that will put you out in the heat.
Children In Heat:
While the image is specific to the numbers of children suffering heatstroke from being left in a vehicle, the danger extends beyond that. The NWS offers these sobering facts regarding children dying from heatstroke in vehicles:
- To date (July 31st, 2013), 24 children have passed away in relation to heatstroke.
- Since 1998 there have been 585 such deaths, which averages to 37 per year.
Think the numbers are tragic? Consider this:
- A child’s body absorbs more heat on a hot day than an adults! When you are hot, they may well be sweltering!
- It does not have to be a scorcher outside to cause heatstroke inside a vehicle. There have been cases where the temperature was only 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside of the car.
Let Your Children Run Errands With You
I think it is reasonable to assume that, at some point, each parent has at least thought “Oh, if I could just leave the kids in the car – this will only take a minute.” But we all know that a “minute” trip inside a store, the post office, or anywhere, typically takes a lot longer than we would like. Consider this:
- It only takes 10 minutes for the heat inside your vehicle to reach deadly levels.
- Within an hour a vehicle can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Our local National Weather Service put out another graphic today which shows that the hottest days yet this year, in our area, are coming at the end of this week. Not exactly a surprise for this time of the year, but it is a harsh reminder of exactly what the hot weather really means.
Keep Your Children Safe:
Now then: As many parents may have thought that leaving their children in the car would be quicker and easier, rather than have their children buzzing around their feet in the store, I wager that any of the parents who made that choice and now mourn their children would happily let ANY child run around their feet, more especially so if they could just take back those fateful minutes where they chose to save some time and trouble.
Many of us do not like to stick our nose in other peoples business – but if 37 children are passing away from being left in cars… I shudder to think how many more were left there, but managed to not become a statistic.
If you see it happen, tell somebody.
As a 9-1-1 Director who normally cringes at some of the reasons people think it is okay to call 9-1-1 (When are the fireworks?..), I can swear to you that ANY dispatcher would welcome a call that can save a child’s life.
Need a catchy phrase to remember? Here is what the NWS is going with, and we agree: Beat the Heat, Check the Backseat!