Girardi | Keese

California Heat Can Be Deadly For Children Left in Cars, Part 1 of 2

The heat wave in Los Angeles has been putting pressure on the power grid and also causing dangerous conditions for older people and for outside exercise. Another danger that comes with extreme heat is the heatstroke that can occur if children are left in vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to raise awareness of the tragedy that can result from leaving a child in a hot vehicle.

The NHTSA looked at products on the market that are meant to warn an adult if a child is unintentionally left in a vehicle, and they concluded that the products are not adequate alone to prevent heatstroke tragedies. For children under the age of 14, heatstroke is the leading cause of death in non-crash deaths related to vehicles. In 2011, 33 children died of heatstroke after being left in hot vehicles. In 2010, 49 children died of heatstroke in vehicles.

The NHTSA believes that the devices on the market could give parents and caregivers a false sense of security because they take a lot of effort to set up, but may not work effectively or consistently.

The devices also do not account for children that make their way into a hot vehicle without an adult's knowledge. These products may have problems if a child is slumping or out of position, may arm inconsistently, may vary in warning signal distance and can be interfered with by other electronic devices.

Tomorrow's post will continue to discuss this important issue and offer tips for preventing child heatstroke tragedies.

Source: NHTSA, "New Research Says Current Warning Systems Designed to Detect Children Left in Vehicles Are Not Reliable," Karen Aldana, July 30,2012

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