Sounding the Alarm on Heatstroke

Protect children against heatstroke

Does it ever seem like Washington isn’t listening to us? Well, recently the Senate Appropriations Committee sent a message that they were hearing us.

Safe Kids and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been working to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children alone in a car, even for a minute. Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of 14. Sadly, in just the last two months, 15 children have died from heatstroke in hot cars. Since 1998, at least 575 children across the United States have died in cars from heatstroke – that’s one child every 10 days.

But last week, in a bill that was developed and passed with bipartisan support, the Appropriations Committee shouted out the need to focus on these tragedies by including a provision that applauded NHTSA’s work on this issue. Importantly, the bill also indicated support for NHTSA’s plan to expand its public awareness efforts in 2014 through the “Where’s baby? Look before you lock” campaign. A similar approach was successful more than a decade ago in a campaign that convinced parents and caregivers to keep kids in the rear seat.

This provision is an important step towards increasing awareness and preventing child deaths due to heatstroke this summer and beyond.

At Safe Kids, we’re working closely with our partners at NHTSA to spread the word about these completely preventable tragedies. With the support of the GM Foundation, we have been working to educate parents and caregivers through our heatstroke awareness campaign: Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car.

Losing one child is one too many and by working together, we can ensure that no family has to lose another child to heatstroke.