(WTVM) - As summer temperatures rise to reach record highs across the country, it's important to remember that while these summer days are great for the pool and the beach, they're not so good for the inside of cars, which can raise to deadly temperatures in a very short period of time.
Safe Kids Columbus reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars.
Since 1998, at least 608 children across the United States have died in cars from heatstroke – that's one child every 10 days. Sadly, so far this year, 4 children have died from heatstroke in cars.
Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and keep getting hotter with each passing minute. And cracking the window doesn't help.
Heatstroke sets in when the body isn't able to cool itself quickly enough. A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. When a child's internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down, and when that temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.
"The key to preventing these tragedies is for every parent and caregiver to understand that this can happen to anybody," said Paula Carter, Vice President of Safe Kids Columbus Board and Training Captain for Columbus Fire and EMS. "It can also be avoided with a little awareness and by taking a few simple precautions."
To help prevent these tragedies, Safe Kids, with the support of the General Motors Foundation, created Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car (NLYCAC) as part of its Buckle Up program, a national initiative established 17 years ago to keep children and families safe in and around cars.
Safe Kids is asking everyone to help protect kids by remembering to ACT:
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids don't get in on their own.
C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you're not following your normal routine.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.
For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.
About Safe Kids Columbus
Safe Kids Columbus works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Its members include Columbus Regional Health, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, St. Francis Hospital, Aflac, Law Offices of Gary Bruce, Columbus Police Department, Columbus Fire and EMS, Muscogee County School District, and many members of the community. Safe Kids Columbus is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Columbus was founded in 1998 and is led by Columbus Department of Public Health. For more information, visit safekids.org or safekidscolumbusga.org
About the General Motors Foundation and Safe Kids Buckle Up
Beginning in 1997, General Motors and the GM Foundation have served as Safe Kids Worldwide's exclusive funding source for its Buckle Up program, a multifaceted national initiative, bringing motor vehicle safety messages to children and families through community and dealer partnerships. To date, more than 22.5 million people have been exposed to Safe Kids Worldwide events and community outreach efforts. Certified child passenger safety technicians working through Safe Kids coalitions have examined over 1.65 million child safety seats at over 85,000 events, and the program has donated over 600,000 seats to families in need.