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NHTSA 31-14
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Contact: Derrell Lyles, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov


19 Child Deaths This Year


WASHINGTON – Nearly every 10 days, a child dies from being left in a hot vehicle. To spread the word for National Heatstroke Prevention Day, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Safe Kids Worldwide and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) are calling on the public to help prevent future tragedies by sharing important safety tips via Twitter and Facebook.

Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle can lead to heatstroke and can kill in minutes. Data from the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences show at least 44 children in the United States lost their lives in 2013 after being left in unattended motor vehicles, and an unknown number of others were moderately to severely injured. So far this year, there have been 19 child deaths from heatstroke.

Throughout the day, NHTSA and its safety partners will highlight the dangers of leaving children alone in cars. @NHTSAgov will be using the hash tags #checkforbaby and #heatstrokekills on all its social media posts, and encourages the public to do the same.

Today's effort includes sharing safety tips from NHTSA's "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock" public education campaign, which provides important information on how to better protect children. In addition, the public can click here to see video from safety experts on this topic.

Safety tips include:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn't show up for care as expected;
  • Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the car seat;
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach;
  • Community members who see a child alone in a vehicle should immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.

To download video footage from last week's heatstroke public awareness event in Washington, D.C., click here

 Visit www.safercar.gov/heatstroke or www.safekids.org/heatstroke for more information.

Stay connected with NHTSA via: Facebook.com/NHTSA | Twitter.com/NHTSAgov | YouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA | SaferCar.gov