News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 25, 2013

Tips on avoiding a child death tragedy

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Safe Kids Vigo County of Chances And Services for Youth joins the community in mourning the tragic accidental heatstroke death of a child last month in Terre Haute, the organization said in a press release.

Another child found in a hot car in Anna, Texas, died Sept. 12, bringing the heatstroke fatality total in the United States to 40 for the 2013 year and the total in Texas to five. In most cases, these children were in the care of a loving and competent parent who became distracted and forgot the child was in the back seat of a hot vehicle. In addition to these deaths, there have been countless near misses.

“For those who feel strongly that it would be impossible to forget your child in the back seat,” the organization said in its news release, “[we encourage you] to read ‘Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Back seat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?’ by Gene Weingarten, Washington Post Staff Writer.”

Safe Kids Vigo County says parents and caregivers can cut down on the number of deaths and near misses by remembering ACT.

• A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.  

• C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse, keys or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine. Many of these tragic deaths occur when the normal routine is disrupted or the parent is abnormally distracted.

• T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call.

Most unintentional injuries to children occur in and around the home, Safe Kids said. “If a child goes missing at home, first check the pool and any ponds or streams nearby and then check the vehicles. Be sure to check the trunk as well as the floor of the vehicles. Better yet, keep vehicles locked at home even when in the garage and be sure to keep the keys out of the reach of children.”