Outside of crashes, heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer of children in the United States. That’s why Branson Police Department is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Heatstroke Awareness Day, to reduce these deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. Nationally, in 2017, there were 42 preventable deaths of children in vehicles, an 8-percent increase from 2016.
“As outside temperatures rise, the risk of children dying from vehicular heatstroke increases,” said Branson Police Chief, Jeff Matthews. “One child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days in the United States from being left in a car or crawling into an unlocked vehicle. What is most tragic is that every single one of these deaths could have been prevented.”
Branson Police Department urges all parents and caregivers to do these three things:
If you are a bystander and see a child in a hot vehicle:
Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include red, hot, and moist or dry skin; no sweating; a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse; nausea; confusion; or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, quickly spray the child with cool water or with a garden hose— NEVER put a child in an ice bath. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s, and heatstroke can occur in outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.
“More than half (54%) of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and 28 percent are from a child getting into a hot car unsupervised,” said Chief Matthews. “We want to get the word out to parents and caregivers: please Look Before You Lock.”