As the weather temperatures are on the rise so is the number of children who die as a result of hyperthermia. Specifically, 30 children a year die as a result from being left in a vehicle by an otherwise responsible adult who became distracted. For example, a 7-month-old Dallas girl died in April after being left alone in a car by her caregiver. The caregiver was supposed to take to the child to daycare but got distracted while running other errands and left the toddler in the car. The child was forgotten about and died shortly after. Also, a 9-month-old girl died in Columbus, Ohio after her 70-year-old caregiver forgot the chile was in the car. By the time anyone noticed the child was missing, she had died.
A recent investigation found that 7 forgotten-child hyperthermia deaths have occurred so far in the United States. Forgotten-child hyperthermia deaths can occur even when temperatures are mild. For example, the temperature reached only 87 degrees on the day the 9-month-old child died in Columbus. This is frightening considering it gets well over 90-100 degrees in many southern states including but not limited to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Although local lawmakers and Congress are wrestling with how to deal with forgotten-child deaths, parents and caregivers can take instant action to stop the problem now. Parents and caregivers should always be on alert about where their child is and their child’s surroundings. Of course distractions present themselves daily, however it is a primary a duty of any parent, caregiver, or any child supervisor to watch a child at all times.
To read tips on how to protect your child from hyperthermia read Hyperthermia Death Rates on the Rise.