While visiting the health department for services, parents and grandparents of young children receive a variety information about health and wellness. One topic that may surprise some: child passenger safety.
In 2019, approximately 400 families were served by Woodford County Health Department, and Child Passenger Safety Technician Erin Luckey tries to remind them that safety in and around cars is just as important as nutrition or immunizations.
According to the National Child Passenger Safety Board, in 2019, more than 50 children died of heatstroke because they were left or became trapped in a hot car. “Specifically, during hot summer months, but throughout the year, child passenger safety isn’t just about choosing the correct car seat, or proper installation, it’s about teaching children not to play in or around cars. Additionally, caregivers should never leave their children in a car, even for a few minutes as young bodies heat up faster than adults, which can quickly lead to death,” warns Luckey. These deaths, although accidental, are preventable.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a campaign to remind parents and caregivers about preventable heatstroke deaths: Park, Look, Lock. Park your car, look for baby, and always lock your car. Other reminders from NHTSA:
• Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning on. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s. A core body temperature of 107 degrees is lethal.
• Always look in both the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away.
• Heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.
• Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them a vehicle is not a play area.
• Always lock your vehicle doors and trunk, and keep the keys out of a child’s reach. If a child is missing, quickly check all vehicles, including the trunk.
For more information about child passenger safety or other services, visit www.woodfordhealth.org.