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A Matter of Minutes is all it takes: summer safety for children

As temperatures tick up across the country, it’s important to remember some important safety guidelines to protect children. Thousands of children and families are tragically affected by preventable, non-traffic-related incidents with vehicles every year.

According to the National Safety Council, an average of 38 children under age 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. In 2022, there were 33 deaths nationwide. Already this year, 11 deaths have been reported.

We urge you to NEVER leave a child alone in or near a car. Regardless of the temperature outside or the length of time you think you’ll be away.

Most people do not realize that a vehicle can heat up very quickly. A car can heat up 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and become deadly. A child’s body temperature rises three or four times faster than that of an adult. According to research done by the Stanford University School of Medicine, children have died in cars on 70-degree days.

In 2001, Kaitlyn’s Law (Senate Bill 255) became a law to honor Kaitlyn Russell, a six-month old who died after being left alone in a parked car for more than two hours. It makes it illegal for a child to be left unattended in a motor vehicle.

By always supervising children in and around cars, you can help keep them safe from heatstroke, carbon monoxide poisoning, back over, abduction, and even death. Here are some tips:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near a car.
  • If you see a child locked inside a car — call 911!
  • Teach children not to play in or near a car, even in driveways or parking lots.
  • Keep cars locked and keys away from children.
  • Check cars and their trunks immediately if a child is missing.
  • Check that all small passengers have left the car once it’s parked.

Since 2014, CCRC has raised awareness through their Matter of Minutes™ campaign to help prevent needless deaths or injury to children through education and outreach. Download our Matter of Minutes poster and you can help educate friends, family and the community regarding this critical information.

If you would like to find out how to get involved, please call us at 866-67-4KIDS or email [email protected].

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