GM Helps Bring Awareness to Dangers of Hyperthermia

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GM Helps Bring Awareness to Dangers of Hyperthermia
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The summer is supposed to be a happy, carefree time for kids. But so far this summer, in fact, in one deadly week (June 13-20), seven children in the U.S. have already died of hyperthermia after being left in a hot car or after playing in one and being trapped inside. The statistics are scary – an average of 30 to 40 children die each year due to hyperthermia from being left in a hot car for too long, and there have been 462 deaths since 1998.

General Motors wants to stem the tide, so they are working with Safe Kids USA to promote education and awareness through the Never Leave Your Child Alone program. Information gathered shows that most cases of child hyperthermia cases (51 percent) are caused by children being accidentally left behind in cars. Another 30 percent are unattended children become trapped in an unlocked vehicle, while 18 percent are children who are knowingly left behind by parents or caregivers.

And it can get hot in a vehicle pretty quickly – it can reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit in just 20 minutes on an 80-degree day. These soaring temperatures effect children the most, as their body temperature rises at three-to-five times the rate of the typical adult, which means they can suffer from heat stroke in a matter of minutes.

To raise awareness to this issue, GM and Safe Kids USA offer useful information on how to prevent a tragic situation, such as calling 911 if you see a child unattended in a vehicle, never leaving children alone in a vehicle, even for a short period of time, and to set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to alert you drop your child off at daycare. They even put together a helpful video of tips – watch it after the jump.

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  • Ron Lopp

    It seems like a no-brainer: never leave a child unattended inside a vehicle on a hot day. Yet, in the last 12 years 461 children have died from heat exposure after being left alone inside a car. Parents don’t realize that the inside of a car can heat up quickly to temperatures that could hurt or kill a child. The 35,000 physician members of the California Medical Association and its Alliance Members have launched a TV public service campaign in California to draw attention to this problem. The PSA can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riBEVLV7iSA.

    Ron Lopp
    California Medical Association
    rlopp@cmanet.org