When it's time for warm weather fun, it's important to remember to look out for children's safety.
Nationwide, from 2002 to 2003, there was an increase of almost 70 percent in reports of children dying from heatstroke after they were either left in or gained access to a hot, closed vehicle.
You can help save young lives. Since 1996, researchers have identified more than 230 fatalities based upon media reports. The actual number, however, could be higher.
"This news is shocking and we are pleading with everyone-parents, bystanders and the news media-to take action to help prevent more of these tragedies from happening this year," said GM safety expert Deb Nowak-Vanderhoef. "We especially want to reach out to bystanders who see unattended children in a hot, closed vehicle, to urge them to contact emergency services immediately. It could save a child's life."
Previous research and real-world incidents have demonstrated that on a warm, sunny day, a closed vehicle can be lethal. Here are some safety tips from General Motors and the National Safe Kids Campaign:
Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, even with a window slightly open.
If you see a small child who is unattended in a motor vehicle and in need of help, contact emergency services. If you are in an OnStar-equipped vehicle, simply push the red emergency OnStar button. You will be quickly connected with an OnStar emergency services advisor who will expedite the call to public safety.
Always lock your vehicle, especially at home and keep keys out of children's reach.
Make sure all children leave the vehicle upon arrival at a destination. Be especially careful if transporting children on a specific day or time is not part of your normal routine. In the case of infants that may be sleeping, get into the habit of placing your purse or briefcase on the floor of the rear seat near where the child is seated to make sure you have to go into the rear seat before leaving the vehicle.
Teach children not to play in, on or around vehicles.
Watch children closely around vehicles, especially when loading and unloading.
General Motors and Safe Kids are distributing free brochures in English and Spanish that include safety tips and information about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles. They are free and available through the more than 300 Safe Kids coalitions nationwide. You can also download the brochure from www.gmability.com or www.safe kids.org.
Leaving a child alone in a vehicle, even for a few minutes, is never OK.
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