August 12, 2005

More children die after being left in cars

Indianapolis, Indiana – Media reports show that through June 23 this year, eight children in eight different U.S. states died from hyperthermia and exposure after being left in closed and locked vehicles. In six cases, parents or caregivers intentionally or inadvertently left them in a vehicle. In two cases, the child got into the vehicle unnoticed and couldn’t get out.

At least 38 children died because they were left alone in closed automobiles in 2004 and were undiscovered in the few minutes it took for the temperature inside the car to elevate. In most cases, parents or guardians forgot the child or stepped away for a few minutes, not realizing how hot their vehicle could get or how quickly.

General Motors, Chevrolet and Safe Kids Worldwide are teaming up again this year to raise awareness of the dangers through the Never Leave Your Child Alone information campaign. The shocking difference between even a mild outside temperature and the temperature inside a closed vehicle is the centerpiece of a new display at the 2005 Indiana State Fair.

“It is never safe to leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle – even with a window slightly open,” said Martin Eichelberger, M.D., president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide and director of Emergency Trauma Services at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “On a sunny day the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels within minutes.”

Visual cues and reminders are the best way to avoid the tragedy that has affected hundreds of families. Leaving a diaper bag on the front seat of the car or putting a briefcase that will be needed at your destination on the floor in the back seat are just two suggestions to remember to check for a child in the back seat.

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