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Child Heat Stroke Deaths High in US

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By Jason Elbert, 7News

 

LAWTON Okla_ So far in 2013, 23 children have died as a result of vehicular heat stroke, or being left alone in a hot car.

Most of the time it's an ordinary day involving an ordinary mother or father doing ordinary things. They want to go into the store to grab "just a few things" or they simply forget their child is in the back seat when they get out of the car. Either way, parents should know how quickly the conditions inside a hot car can turn dangerous.

Red Castle Productions created a powerful Public Service Announcement called "One Decision", a child safety film about vehicular heat stroke.

Studies show the insides of vehicles can become up to 20 degrees hotter than the outside temperature in just 30 minutes. They state when a child's body temperature reaches 104 degrees, the child's internal organs begin to shut down. At 107 degrees, the child can die. So, in some areas where outside temperatures are already above 100 degrees, the conditions inside a car can become deadly within 15 minutes. Experts say cracking the window only helps release the heat slightly.

So, what can you do to help prevent vehicular heat stroke and slow the upward trend of child and pet death from being left in hot cars? Well if you're a passerby, the law usually protects you if you choose to forcibly enter a vehicle to rescue a child in distress. If you're a parent who wants to prevent an accident, the organization "Cars and Kids" has outlined a few helpful tips.

Back seat: Put something in the back seat whenever you strap a child in, so you have to open the back door, or at least turn around to find that item, when you get out of the car. Your handbag or briefcase, cellphone, or employee badge.

Every child should be correctly restrained in the back seat.

Stuffed animal: Keep a brightly colored one in the car seat when your child isn't there. Then move it from the car seat to the front seat after you strap your child in, to remind you when your baby is in the back seat.

Ask your baby sitter or child-care provider to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn't arrived on time.

Focus on driving: Avoid cellphone calls and text-messaging while driving.

Every time you park your vehicle -- every single time -- open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind.

 

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