AAA Arizona provides tips to help keep heat stroke at bay, and to make sure kids stay safe in the extreme Arizona heat.
Approximately 584 children have died in locked vehicles nationwide since 1988, according to a San Francisco State University study. In 2013 alone, 23 children died from being left in a car and the majority of the tragedies occurred during the summer months.
Representatives with AAA Arizona said more than half of heatstroke deaths happen when a distracted caregiver forgets to remove a child from a vehicle.
"Never leave your child unsupervised in a vehicle, even for a minute," said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. "Temperatures inside a car, even on a mild and sunny day, can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Children especially are susceptible to heatstroke, because their bodies can heat up five times faster than adults."
This summer, AAA
Arizona has responded to more than 9,300 calls from motorists who were locked
out of their vehicles. Gorman said the situation becomes an emergency when a
child or pet is inside a locked car, and the motorist should immediately call
AAA Arizona encourages the public to follow "ACT," their three-step heatstroke prevention tips:
Avoid heat stroke by never leaving a child in an unattended vehicle; Create reminders to give the motorist a safety net, such as leaving a purse in the back seat; and Take action by reporting an unattended child or pet in a locked vehicle.
Officials with AAA Arizona say there are also many steps to help prevent your kids or pets from suffering heat-related incidents.
Gorman said to keep your vehicle locked, your keys hidden from children, and teach your child to not play in or around cars, especially the trunk. Keeping the rear fold-down seats closed can help keep kids from accessing the trunk from inside the vehicle.
Also, Gorman said to be aware of cars around you in a parking lot, and call 911 if a child or animal is in a locked vehicle. AAA Arizona recommends to avoid keeping kids and pets in a running vehicle because many cars have automatic locking systems.
"With today's busy schedules, people have a lot on their minds," Gorman said. "Take care of the important things first, so a slip of the mind doesn't become a tragedy."
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