CAMP DARBY, Italy - While all accidents and injuries are unfortunate, some can be prevented by spreading awareness and teaching ourselves certain preventative behaviors.

For example, 16 children have already died this year - more than 600 since 1998 - from vehicular heatstroke deaths, and those fatalities didn't have to happen.

Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Unfortunately, even the best parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risks include caregivers who aren't used to driving children or if a routine suddenly changes.

ALWAYS LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK! Make it a habit to look before you lock, and try these tips to avoid putting children at risk of heatstroke:
• Always check the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
• Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child's car seat when it's empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back.
• If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

Keep in mind a child's sensitivity to heat. Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of extreme heat, and must rely on other people to keep them cool and hydrated.

• In 10 minutes, a car's temperature can rise more than 20 degrees.
• Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees.
• A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are open.


Understand potential consequences of children in hot vehicles
• Severe injury or death
• Being arrested and jailed for child endangerment
• A lifetime of regret

People who walk by a vehicle and see a child alone on a warm day can help prevent tragedies. Notify Emergency Services or Carabinieri (see box). Prudent action should be taken to safeguard the child, above all else, while waiting for first responders.

Much of this information is also true for pets. Never leave pets in a parked car -101 they can suffer heat-related illness also.
(DMC SAFETY)