Monday, August 2, 2004
|Contact: Ellen Martin
Telephone: (202) 366-9550
NHTSA Reminds Parents Not to Leave Children Unattended in
Vehicles, Provides Summer Safety Tips
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National SAFE KIDS Campaign today reminded parents and caregivers that leaving children unattended in a motor vehicle can quickly lead to fatal consequences, especially in warm weather. NHTSA also issued summer safety tips for parents and caregivers.
From 1996 to the present, at least 241 children have died of heatstroke after being trapped inside parked cars, and at least 19 have died already this year. Most of the children were in child safety seats and left behind or forgotten by an adult. Others gained access to an unlocked car and then became trapped inside.
"During warm weather, temperatures can rapidly rise inside a vehicle, even if it’s parked in the shade. A tragedy can occur within minutes if children are left in a closed car," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.
Young children trapped in a hot, closed vehicle are at particularly great risk on a day that is sunny or humid. Even when the temperature is as mild as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a closed vehicle can heat to levels that are dangerous for children within a short span of time.
"It’s not only parents and caregivers who should be extremely vigilant. Anyone who observes a small child alone in a closed vehicle should contact emergency services immediately," says Martin Eichelberger, M.D., president of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.
NHTSA Reminds Parents Not to Leave Children Unattended in Vehicles
NHTSA and SAFE KIDS urge parents to be particularly cautious about their children’s safety in the summer and offer the following safety precautions to combat heat-related injuries in cars and other motor vehicles:
Car trunks can also be especially hazardous. In very hot weather, within minutes a child trapped in the trunk of a vehicle can suffer a heatstroke that leads to permanent disability or even death. Remember these safety precautions:
For the fourth year in a row, SAFE KIDS and General Motors are conducting a national public awareness campaign aimed at educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of leaving children unattended in motor vehicles. The Never Leave Your Child Alone initiative includes brochures in English and Spanish that deliver potentially lifesaving information. Brochures can be downloaded at www.safekids.org and www.gmability.com.
The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury – the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. More than 300 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico comprise the campaign.
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