Officials warn parents after toddler's death

June 28, 2012 5:36:48 AM PDT
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are warning parents after a 2-year-old Burke County child died from hyperthermia this month.

It is the first case of a child dying after being left unattended in a hot vehicle since 2009.

With temperatures expected to be in the triple digits for the next several days, DHHS officials are stressing to parents that the danger to children is heightened. They said even on a moderately warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle could rapidly reach fatal levels.

According to a report released this week by the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team, there were 19 deaths of children in hot vehicles between 1999 and 2009. There were no deaths in 2010 or 2011.

Safe Kids North Carolina, a childhood injury prevention organization, offered the following prevention tips:
  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Check to make sure all children exit the vehicle when you reach your destination.
  • Lock the doors when your vehicle is parked. Teach children that cars are not places to play.
  • Busy parents have a lot on their minds, so give yourself a reminder. Place your purse, briefcase or other important items in the backseat next to your childs car seat to help you remember to look in the back before leaving the car.
  • Set a reminder on your cell phone or other mobile device to remind you to drop off children at school or daycare when routines change.
  • Make an agreement with your child's school or daycare that you will be notified if your child is not dropped off at the normal time.
  • If you see a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
  • Check vehicles and trunks first if a child goes missing.

For more information, visit www.ocme.unc.edu and www.ncsafekids.org

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