HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - According to the safety organization KidsAndCars.org, on average, once every nine days a child dies of heatstroke in a vehicle.
Wednesday, April 26th marks National Child Vehicular Heatstroke Awareness and Prevention Day. Experts call these tragic incidents 100% preventable.
"Don't even leave your kids in the car even for a minute," said Captain Frank McKenzie with Huntsville Fire and Rescue. "Most of the children that are left in cars, it's by accident. They seem to forget their child is in there."
Already this year, five children have died from heatstroke inside vehicles, and summer is still two months away:
- A boy, 1, died Feb. 6 in Pinecrest, Florida
- A boy, 2, died Feb. 28 in Brandon, Florida
- A girl, 3, died March 28 in Ville Platte, Louisiana
- A boy, 1, died April 4 in Vestavia, Alabama
- A boy, 23 months, died April 14 in Burleson, Texas
Since 1990, almost 800 children have died in these incidents. According to KidsAndCars.org, an average of 37 children die every year and in 2016, 39 children died.
Safety steps include:
- Put something in the back seat so you have to open the back door when leaving the vehicle - cellphone, employee badge, handbag, left shoe, etc.
- Every time you park your vehicle open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind. "Look Before You Lock."
- Ask your childcare provider or babysitter to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn't arrived on time.
- Keep a stuffed animal in your child's car seat and move it to the front seat to remind you when your baby is in the back seat.
- Focus on driving and avoid cellphone calls and any other distractions while driving.