ACT to Avoid a Heatstroke Tragedy, says AAA

Prevent heatstroke in children and pets 

Phoenix, July 31, 2013. Don’t worry about unloading groceries from the trunk until all children are safely out of the vehicle. Today is National Heatstroke Prevention Day, a good reminder of the dangerous effects of high temperatures.

Since 1998, 584 children have died in locked vehicles nationwide, according to San Francisco State University. So far this year, 23 children in the United States have died from being left in a car, with several of these tragedies occurring in the past month. More than half of heatstroke deaths occur when a distracted caregiver forgets to remove a child from a vehicle.

AAA Arizona has responded to more than 9,300 calls from motorists locked out of their vehicles so far this summer. When a child or pet is inside a locked car, the situation becomes an emergency. In that situation, do not call AAA – immediately call 911. 

 “Never leave your child unsupervised in a vehicle, even for a minute,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “Temperatures inside a car, even on a mild and sunny day, can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Children especially are susceptible to heatstroke, because their bodies can heat up five times faster than adults.”

Prevention is the best way to keep heatstroke at bay. AAA reminds people to ACT:

  • Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Create reminders and habits that give you and any caregivers a safety net. For example, leave your purse or other important items in the backseat.
  • Take action if you see an unattended child or pet in a vehicle. Dial 911 and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.

AAA Arizona offers other tips for making sure kids stay safe:

  • Never leave your vehicle running with children or pets inside. Many vehicles have automatic locking systems, meaning if you leave your car running and shut the door, your vehicle may automatically lock you out.
  • Be alert when you walk past cars in parking lots or alongside the street. Listen for noise and look for movement. If you spot a child or pet inside a locked vehicle, call 911 immediately and follow instructions. 
  • Keep vehicle locked and keys out of sight so children cannot get to them.
  • Teach your child never to play in or around cars, including the trunk. Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.

“With today’s busy schedules, people have a lot on their minds,” Gorman said. “Take care of the important things first, so a slip of the mind doesn’t become a tragedy.”
 

AAA is an advocate for the safety and security for the motoring public. Visit aaa.com/trafficsafety for more information.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 840,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.