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TheStreet Open House

Children Alone In Vehicles Can Quickly Lead To Tragedy

Safe Kids Worldwide Urges Citizens to "ACT" to Avoid Heat Stroke-Related Deaths

BOCA RATON, Fla., April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every year, children die of hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke, while unattended in vehicles. The number of near-misses – children rescued before a fatality – is significantly higher. To help prevent these tragic and unnecessary deaths, Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation are launching their 2012 hyperthermia awareness campaign, Never Leave Your Child Alone In a Car.

"Whether you are a parent or caregiver, or just a concerned bystander, you can help save lives," says Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "We are urging everyone to ACT: Avoid hyperthermia-related deaths by never leaving your child alone in a car and always locking doors and trunks; Create reminders and habits for you and your child's caregivers to serve as a safety net to ensure you don't forget your child; and Take action if you see a child unattended in a vehicle by immediately calling 911." 

Safe Kids warns that these deaths can happen anytime, anywhere. With the support of the GM Foundation, Safe Kids Worldwide and its network of 600 coalitions and chapters across the nation are helping to educate parents and caregivers by providing prevention information.

"Children have died in hot cars in winter months as well as summer months, and in nearly all 50 states," says GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard. "These tragic, yet preventable events happen more often than one would think; in fact more than 500 children have died this way since 1998."

Even on a seemingly mild day, temperatures inside a car can rise nearly 20 degrees in 10 minutes, and leaving a window slightly open has no effect. These conditions are especially dangerous for children, whose bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult's. Heat stroke happens when the body cannot cool itself fast enough and the core temperature rises to dangerous levels.

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