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Columbus, Ohio
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Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

Hot Cars Can Be Deadly for a Child

End Injury

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I’m sure you’ve seen the stories about the dangers of kids in hot cars.

I’ve heard parents say some form of “I always check on my kids, so it won’t happen to me.” Yes, some of these deaths are due to parents forgetting their kids in the car or leaving them while they run into a store, but sometimes, it’s the tragic result of a child's actions. And it's not about being a good parent or not. Good parents still make mistakes. No particular group is immune to this problem--the people who lose children to heatstroke in cars are all over the map on things like income, education, and profession.

So why is this even a thing? Well, it has to do with two main factors: cars heating up quickly and kids’ higher sensitivity to heat. The temperature inside a car goes up faster than you might think, even with windows open and on cloudy or cooler days—as much as 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Kids also overheat much more quickly than adults, so what’s uncomfortable for an adult may be deadly for a child. They just can't cool down the way we can, making them especially vulnerable in high temperatures.

The good news, though, is that we can avoid heatstroke, especially in cars. The experts have some tips to help us overcome this issue and prevent future tragedies, like keeping your phone in the back seat to remind you to look there before you leave your car (bonus: this trick also prevents distracted driving!). Safercar.gov even provides advice for bystanders, so you can feel more confident about stepping in if you see a child in a hot car.

I can guarantee that at some point this summer, you or someone you know will be tempted to leave a child in the car, especially on those long days when your child finally falls asleep just as you’re getting home. Don’t fall into the it-won’t-happen-to-me trap: no matter your gender, race, income, social class, or any factor at all, it really does happen. So be safe this summer, and take your kids out the car every time.

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