The 8-month-old baby who died Wednesday in Barton Rouge, La., was the 11th child this year to die in a hot car.
The first day of summer, June 20, is still more than a week away, but it doesn’t have to be 100 degrees outside for vehicles to become dangerously hot. On average once every nine days a young child dies due to heatstroke in a vehicle, according to the national nonprofit group KidsAndCars.org.
Since 1990, more than 750 children have died in these preventable tragedies. An average of 37 children die needlessly every year from vehicular heatstroke.
Parents and caregivers are reminded to check the back seat as part of their routine when exiting a vehicle: Look before you lock. Individuals in the community are also encouraged to take action if they see a child alone in a vehicle.
“Try to find the driver of the vehicle, call 911 and if the child seems to be in imminent danger, break the window furthest away from the child to rescue them,” stressed Amber Andreasen, director of KidsAndCars.org.
Wednesday was also National Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention and Awareness Day. The awareness organization and grieving parents are insisting on technology to help prevent parents and caregivers from unknowingly leaving children alone in vehicles.
“The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them or that they are not capable of unknowingly leaving their child behind,” said Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org. “This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents; no one is immune.”
Newer vehicles can stop themselves from backing into something; testing available technology for this purpose also makes sense.