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Safe Kids Wyoming: Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car

Since 1998, more than 550 children across the United States have died from heatstroke while unattended in cars. SafeKids Wyoming is working to ensure that no child is left alone in a car, not even for a minute.

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. When the sun is out, and even on cloudy days, the inside of a car can become much hotter than the temperature outside. In just 10 minutes a car can heat up 19 degrees. On an 80 degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly exceed 100 degrees. Cracking a window does not help keep the inside of a car cool.

Children are at great risk for heatstroke because a child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's. When the body's temperature reaches 104 degrees, the internal organs start to shut down. When it reaches 107 degrees, the child can die. Symptoms of heatstroke may include dizziness; disorientation; agitation; confusion; sluggishness; seizure; hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty; loss of consciousness; rapid heartbeat or hallucinations.

"We want the community to be aware of the dangers of hyperthermia and to gain perspective on such tragic incidents that can occur, such as an incident in Gillette several years ago," says Diana Shannon, SafeKids Campbell County Coordinator says. "Unfortunately, no one is immune to this kind of tragedy. Parents and caregivers can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT."

A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids don't get in on their own.

C: 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.

T: 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. One call could save a life.

You can help us spread the word to your community to stop these preventable tragedies. Additional prevention information can be found at safekids.org/heatstroke, and statistics on child heatstroke deaths can be found at ggweather.com/heat. Download the SafeKids fact sheet on Hyperthermia at ccmh.net/SafeKidsHeatstroke.

Safe Kids Campbell County provides our community with free car seat checks by appointment, safety seat events, bike rodeos and much more to help educate our children. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/safekids.