National Heatstroke Prevention Day is July 31

Contact: Kari Arend, 517-284-3045

OHSP and MDHHS raise awareness about heatstroke and offer tips for prevention

July 25, 2018

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are working to raise awareness about the dangers of heatstroke and offering ways to prevent such tragedies. More than 9,000 letters and posters have been sent to day care providers and child care centers across the state with life-saving tips for parents, caregivers, and staff to help prevent children from dying in hot cars.

 In the United States, every 10 days a child dies from being left alone in a hot vehicle. Since 1998 there have been 761 deaths from heatstroke, with 28 deaths this year.

“Heatstroke deaths among young children are 100 percent preventable,” said Michael L. Prince, director of OHSP. “By reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke, we can work together to save lives and raise awareness this summer and throughout the year.”

Children die alone in a vehicle for several reasons: 54 percent were forgotten by a caregiver; 29 percent of children were playing in a vehicle and became trapped; and 17 percent were intentionally left by an adult.

“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult, making them more susceptible to heatstroke,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Temperatures inside a vehicle can easily be double the temperature outside. That’s why we are asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable danger by never leaving your child alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute.”     

Child care providers were identified in the mailing because of their daily interaction with children, families and caregivers.        The mailing asks adults to A.C.T together to keep children safe:

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving children alone in a car, even for a few minutes. Always lock doors and the trunk. Keep keys and key fobs out of reach.
  • Create reminders. Place something needed at the next stop, like a bag or cell phone, next to the car seat or booster as a reminder.
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, take action. Call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond in these situations.

For more information on ways to prevent heatstroke and for helpful tools and tips, go to:

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