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Summertime is the right time to talk about heat safety.

(June 13, 2022, Oklahoma City, OK)  – Outside of vehicle crashes, heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer of children in the United States. In 2021, at least 23 children died as a result of being left in a hot car. And more than 900 children have died of heatstroke since 1998 because they were left or became trapped in a hot car.

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Children are more vulnerable to heatstroke because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Parents, caregivers and bystanders all play a role in helping to make sure another death doesn’t happen. One should never leave children alone in a vehicle, and if you are a bystander and you see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately.

The data shows reminding the public about heat safety is having a real effect. There were an all-time high of 54 preventable deaths of children in vehicles in 2018 and 53 such deaths in 2019. However, that number plummeted by more than half to just 25 in 2020 and 21 in 2021.

“A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” TFI Senior Vice President Rachelle Roosevelt said. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why TFI is asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.

A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.

C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.

T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.For more information on the dangers of heatstroke in children and how you can help prevent these unnecessary and untimely deaths, please visit the following websites:

TFI is a leading child welfare agency providing experience, compassion, quality services and care. We provide various types of services in the community and have over 50 years of experience in providing child welfare services including foster care services, group home care, case management, independent living, psychiatric residential treatment center, behavioral health, adoption services, visitation services, and aftercare services.