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Summer Car Safety for Children

Summer safety concerns are especially important to plan around for families of children with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and developmental delays.

Do not leave your child unattended in a car, even for a few minutes. Especially when you have a child who does not communicate or move noisily, a baby, or a sleepy child in the car, especially at a non routine time or day, use some kind of reminder so that you or another family member does not forget they have the child with them.

According to statistics collected by the Kids and Cars organization from the year 2000 to 2004, more than 700 children under the age of 15 lost their lives due to being left unattended in or around cars and trucks.

Forty percent, or 289 children, died because they were overcome by heat when left inside the car during warm weather, by power accessory strangulation (being caught in power windows) or because they accidentally set the car in motion.

Twenty four percent of these, or 70 children, died when they were left in a car during hot weather. The next leading cause of fatalities was a vehicle being set in motion by a child, thirteen percent. Two percent were killed by power accessory strangulation. Don't leave a child unattended in a car, truck or van even for a few minutes.

Parking lots and driveways are dangerous areas for children, because they are almost impossible to see when drivers are backing up. Almost half of the children who lost their lives were backed over by a vehicle. An estimated 4% lost their lives by being hit by a vehicle moving forward, 2% died because they were underage drivers, 2% due to a fire in the vehicle, and 6% by other unexpected events.

These statistics are too high, and as any parent who has lost a child can tell you, they would give the world to go back and change just one thing to save their son or daughter. Uncounted in these numbers are the children who are seriously hurt and sustain lifelong disabilities due to car related accidents.

KidandCars.org has safety tips, programs to interest your local PTA or parent group, information and resources to educate your community to reduce the number of tragedies that so many families suffer each year.

Update: As of 2011, Kids and Cars reports the highest number of fatalities in one year occurred in 2010; 49 children under the age of 15 died of vehicular heat stroke deaths. In both 2009 and 2012, 33 children lost their lives in this way.

Preventing Tragedies - Kids and Cars
http://www.kidsandcars.org

Information on Vehicular Heat Stroke Prevention Day July 31 2013
http://www.kidsandcars.org/upload/pdfs/articles/2013/Heat-Stroke-Prevention-Day-2013.pdf

Vehicular Heat Stroke Fact Sheet
http://www.kidsandcars.org/userfiles/dangers/heat-stroke-fact-sheet.pdf

I was unable to find this resource in Spanish - please let me know if there is a new website:
Chicos y Carros - Spanish - Preventing Tragedies - Kids and Cars
La misión de CHICOS Y CARROS es de prevenir que los niños mueran o sean heridos a consecuencia de accidentes que ocurran dentro, cerca o alrededor de vehículos cuando éstos no se encuentren formando parte del tráfico vehicular o hayan sido víctimas de un accidente de tráfico.

US DOT Summer's heat requires extra car safety vigilance
http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/06/summer-heat-requires-car-safety-vigilance.html

US DOT Summer's heat requires extra car safety vigilance
http://www.safercar.gov/parents/heatstroke.htm

Dehydration and Heat Illness Prevention Tips
http://www.safekids.org/assets/docs/safety-basics/sports/Dehydration-Fact-Sheet-English.pdf

Information on Vehicular Heat Stroke Prevention Day July 31 2013
http://www.kidsandcars.org/upload/pdfs/articles/2013/Heat-Stroke-Prevention-Day-2013.pdf

Consejos para la Prevención de la Deshidratación y Enfermedades Causadas por el Calor
http://www.safekids.org/español
La misión es de prevenir que los niños mueran o sean heridos a consecuencia de accidentes que ocurran dentro, cerca o alrededor de vehículos cuando éstos no se encuentren formando parte del tráfico vehicular o hayan sido víctimas de un accidente de tráfico.

Browse at local bookstores, public libraries or online retailers for titles like:
Safe Kids: A Complete Child-Safety Handbook and Resource Guide for Parents

CDC - Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
View page in English, Español (Spanish), Français (French),
Tiẽng Viêt (Vietnamese), Kreyol (Haitian Creole), Deutsch (German), 中文 (Chinese),
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp

CDC Frequently Asked Questions about Extreme Heat
http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.asp

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