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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Hyperthermia and its Child Victims

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With record temperatures above 100 degrees searing Oklahoma, it sadly comes as no surprise that newsok.com is reporting that a Cyril boy has died after being found in the trunk of the car.

According to the article,

investigators weren’t sure how the boy got in the trunk or how long he had been there, but they think he may have entered through the backseat.

This accident serves as a grim reminder to us all regarding the issue of child safety during these extreme temperatures. According to a study done by the Department of Geosciences at SFSU,

There have been at least twenty deaths of children in hot vehicles in 2011. In 2010 there were at least forty-nine deaths of children due to hyperthermia (heat stroke) from being in hot vehicles. In the previous year (2009) there were a total of at least 33 such fatalities in the United States due to hyperthermia after they were left in hot cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s. Since 1998 there have been at least a total of 514 of these needless tragedies.

The study also states

An examination of media reports about the 494 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths for a thirteen year period (1998 through 2010) shows the following circumstances:

· 51% – child "forgotten" by caregiver (253 Children)

· 30% – child playing in unattended vehicle (150)

· 17% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (86)

· 1% – circumstances unknown (5)

Accordingly, some practical safety tips for parents to follows is listed below:

  1. Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
  2. Know at all times where your children are.
  3. If your children are being left with a provider make sure they are cognizant of heat related issues.
  4. Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  5. To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
  6. When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.