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Feds Campaign to Prevent Hot Car Heatstroke in Children

U.S. Department of Transportation Child Heatstroke Prevention 

On July 1, 2020, which is designated as Heatstroke Awareness Day, Elaine Chao, U.S. Transportation Secretary, announced that a $3 million public safety campaign was set to launch with the goal of reducing vehicular heatstroke deaths among children across the nation. The campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) effort to educate the public and project a unified message about the dangers that a hot car can pose to children.

The campaign is designed to remind drivers that they should never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.  It also urges drivers to lock their vehicles in order to prevent children in their neighborhoods from entering a hot car without anyone knowing.

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gathered and held a news conference on July 1st, focusing on a path to preventing hot car deaths.  Attending the conference in addition to Secretary Chao, were Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and representatives from various safety organizations.

Park – Look – Lock

Public service announcements started on July 1, 2020, and will continue throughout the summer.  They employ the phrase “park, look, lock” as a simple, easy-to-remember refrain to get the point across.  The campaign includes radio ads all across the United States as well as a digital campaign that is designed to target the following states that have the most child heatstroke deaths:

  • Virginia
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • Mississippi
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Indiana
  • Florida
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Arizona
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas

Why the Hot Car Message is Especially Important Now

Because we are experiencing a pandemic, parents may think it is safer to leave their child in the vehicle while they run into a store, rather than potentially expose them to germs.  It is not safer to leave the child is a vehicle.  Hot temperatures throughout the country can lead to the interior of a vehicle quickly reaching temperatures that can kill.

Watch the following YouTube video, which discusses the signs and symptoms of heatstroke.

Things to be aware of in order to help prevent hot car tragedies:

  • Children should be taught that vehicles are not intended for playing inside.
  • All vehicles should be kept locked when parked, so a child does not enter unbeknownst to an adult.
  • Remember that leaving a window open does not sufficiently cool a hot vehicle.
  • Be aware that heatstroke deaths have happened even when the vehicle was parked in the shade.
  • Do not leave a child unattended in a vehicle for any amount of time.
  • If you are a bystander who sees an unattended child in a vehicle, call 911 for immediate assistance.

Statistics on Child Heatstroke In the U.S.

  • 860 children have been killed by hot car heatstroke since 1998
  • 39 children die of vehicular heatstroke on average each year since 1998
  • 2019 child heatstroke fatalities: 52
  • 2018 child heatstroke fatalities: 53

Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a car accident lawyer in Sacramento, California.  My firm has helped injured Sacramentans for nearly four decades.  We are a holistic law office, and we seek to have our clients fully recover from their injuries.  If you or a family member sustained injuries caused by a negligent driver, I am available to offer compassionate, free, and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400.  If you are calling from outside the Sacramento area, you can reach me at (800) 404-5400.  For those that prefer online communication, I offer this form.

I am a proud member of the following legal associations: Million Dollar Forum and Top 1 Percent.

Our law firm handles cases involving severe injuries, traffic collisions, and families who have suffered a loved one’s wrongful death.

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