Cumberland Times-News

June 18, 2014

Bad habit

Don’t leave a child alone in a vehicle, even briefly

Cumberland Times-News

— A recent survey by a public opinion research firm has some troubling results. Twenty-three percent of parents with children age 3 and under have deliberately left their child alone in a vehicle.

The findings were made in a survey by Public Opinion Strategies, a research firm specializing in political, public affairs and public policy.

AAA Mid-Atlantic said the results are especially concerning because temperatures this week are 90 degrees or hotter. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicles deaths for children under age 14.

Since 1998, there have been at least 606 heatstroke deaths of children left in cars, according to San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences. The same research states that on average, 38 children die each year, or one approximately every 9 days. In 2013, 44 children died of heatstroke. Four children have died through May 15, 2014. The university’s department review of media reports shows that 95 percent of the children who died of heatstroke from 1998-2013 were five years old or younger.

Leaving children left unattended in vehicles is never alright — even if it is just for a couple of minutes. Further, make a habit of checking your vehicle, front and back, before locking the door and walking away. Children have died because they fell asleep in their car seats and their parents didn’t realize they were still in the car.

Every parent or caretaker of children should heed these statistics as a wakeup call.