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Dangers of Leaving Children Unattended in Vehicles

Purple Ribbon Flyer__Page_1( Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) is conducting a Purple Ribbon Campaign during August to help raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars. The campaign features purple ribbons, fliers, signs and posters that will be displayed inside and outside of the Medical Center. Purple Ribbon Month is held each year in memory of children who have lost their lives because of vehicular heatstroke.

I was a nursing student and had just left class when a mother in distress approached me and urged me to break her car window to get her infant, who had accidentally been locked in the car,” said ARMC Trauma Coordinator, Richard Vara. “We got her child out in time. I reacted as a concerned parent, and I hope that other people would do the same when they see children who are left in cars.”

As of July 2014, at least 19 U.S. children have died because of vehicular heatstroke, according to Kids And Cars, a nonprofit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in or around motor vehicles. Last year, 44 children died of vehicular heatstroke in the U.S.

Heatstroke-related injuries and deaths are preventable,” said Vara. “It is important to be vigilant about checking inside your vehicle before locking up and walking away.”

A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. Leaving the car windows partially down does not significantly slow the heating process in the vehicle. Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT:

-Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car. Keep your car locked when you are not in it so children do not get in the car on their own.

-Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

-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.

Sources: Kids And Cars;; Safe Kids Worldwide.

California state law makes it illegal to leave a child 6 years of age or younger unattended inside a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone who is at least 12 years old.

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