U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the launch of a $3 million public safety campaign to combat child vehicular heatstroke deaths across the country. Chao made the announcement July 1, National Heatstroke Awareness Day, according to a news release.
The announcement is part of the transportation department’s ongoing work to engage with safety advocates and provide a unified message to educate the public about the dangers hot vehicles pose to children, according to the release.
“As we enter the hot summer months, the department is launching a $3 million information campaign to remind drivers to never leave children unattended in cars and to lock their cars to prevent neighborhood children from entering the heated car,” Chao said.
Public service announcements began running July 1 and will run all summer reminding parents and caregivers to always Park. Look. Lock.
Radio ads will air across the country, and the digital campaign will target the 18 states with the highest incidences of child heatstroke fatalities: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Since 1998, at least 855 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke. All of these deaths could have been prevented. In 2020, there have been six confirmed child heatstroke deaths and 52 child heatstroke deaths occurred in 2019. The National average of child heatstroke deaths per year since 1998 is 39 deaths.
Heatstroke Prevention Tips:
• Keep vehicles locked at all times when parked to prevent a child climbing in and becoming trapped.
• Teach children that vehicles are not a place to play.
• Never leave a child in a vehicle when running errands, not even for a minute.
• Rolling down a window does little to keep a vehicle cool, and heatstroke deaths have occurred even in vehicles parked in shaded areas.
• Bystanders who see a child alone in a vehicle should call 911 and get help immediately.