Upstate group gives tips to prevent child hot car deaths


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Prisma Health, together with Safe Kids Upstate and Bradshaw Institutes, found data naming South Carolina number one in child hot car deaths in the United States.

Outside of car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) , heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer of children.

NHTSA’s data from last year found 52 children died from being locked inside a hot car. Of those deaths, 26% accidentally locked themselves into a hot car while unsupervised. 

That’s why Brooke Haile, Safe Kids Upstate’s Special Project Coordinator, noted children should not think car keys are toys. It’s best not to give a child keys to play with.

“This is an issue that’s really prevalent in our country right now, it’s getting worse every year. Last year was kind of the worst on record. So, we’re just talking about things that you could do to prevent this from happening,” Haile said.

Haile said simple tips like placing a briefcase, cell phone, even one of the shoes you’re wearing next to the child’s car seat can remind you to check the backseat before exiting a vehicle.

Safe Kids Upstate’s acronym ACT is claimed to be its top safety tip:

  • A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car. 
  • C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or your phone in your child’s car seat when traveling with your child.
  • T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. One call could save a life.

While recent stories about parents who’ve accidentally left their child in the car, means they’re bad parents, Haile added that’s not the case.

“This is really just happening because you get in that auto pilot mode and you kind of forget that your child is in the backseat. A lot of parents are going into work, going shopping, wherever. If that child is in a rear facing car seat and they’re quiet. They might be asleep, they’re often times forgotten” Haile said.

For more information on how to keep your child safe and helpful tips to keep your child from being locked in a hot car, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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