Public Safety Alert: Summer Brings Fatal Consequences for Children Left in Hot Parked Cars

DALLAS, TX  - With another hot summer upon us, the International Parking Institute (IPI) is hoping to change a grisly annual statistic: the 40-plus child deaths caused by heatstroke because they were forgotten by parents or caregivers in the backseat of hot parked cars.

So far this year, at least seven* children have died in parked cars; 44 died in 2013. The more than 600 young lives lost since 1998 represents a tenfold increase since the early 1990s.

IPI_Parking_Safety_Public_Service_Ad_smallIn more than half of the cases, a parent or caregiver forgot the child was left in the car; typically, they neglect to drop the child off at daycare, continuing on with their busy day with the child locked in the rear seat. Children who access an unlocked car account for nearly 30 percent of fatalities.

IPI plans to work closely with a number of child safety organizations, and state, and national government agencies to educate parents and caregivers as part of its Parking Safety Matters initiative which is launching at its 2014 Conference and Expo in Dallas, TX, June 1-4 this week. A new public service ad and fact sheet may be downloaded here.

A featured speaker at the conference is San Francisco meteorologist Jan Null, CCM, the nation's recognized expert on the subject of vehicular heatstroke.

Null has dedicated more than a decade to research and education on child heatstroke deaths and maintains a record of every fatality in the U.S. His research reveals that within even five minutes, the interior of a parked car can reach lethal temperatures for a child, whose body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's.

Here are some important ways you can prevent a child from dying in a hot parked car this summer:

  • Never leave your child in a parked car. Not even for a minute.
  • Never leave your car without checking the backseat. Put your wallet or phone in back as a reminder.
  • Coordinate with daycare providers and nursery schools to call immediately if your child does not show up as scheduled.
  • Call 9-1-1 if you see a child alone in a car. Every minute counts.
  • If your child is missing, check the pool, car, and trunk of car immediately.
  • When it's hot outside, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to fatal heatstroke levels within minutes, even if the windows are partially open.

IPI wants parents, daycare providers, and the general public to be aware of the dangers and to understand that even loving, attentive parents are capable of forgetting a child in the back seat. This tragedy can happen to anyone. For more information, visit parking.org/safety.

*As of May 30, 2014. By the time this news release is distributed, the number may have increased.

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About the organization:

The International Parking Institute is the world's largest association representing parking professionals and the parking industry. www.parking.org.

Media contact:

Helen Sullivan 703.606.7622 sullivan@parking.org

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