Jeff Burton, GM Racing support Safe Kids

JEFF BURTON SPEAKS ON DEADLY COMBINATION OF CHILDREN AND HOT WEATHER AND HOT CARS Never Leave Your Child Alone Hot Weather and Hot Cars Deadly Combination for Children At least 41 Texas Children Dead from Hypothermia Since 1998 Jeff Burton ...

JEFF BURTON SPEAKS ON DEADLY COMBINATION OF CHILDREN AND HOT WEATHER AND HOT CARS

Never Leave Your Child Alone
Hot Weather and Hot Cars Deadly Combination for Children
At least 41 Texas Children Dead from Hypothermia Since 1998

Jeff Burton speaks out on deadly combination for children in hot weather and hot cars

FORT WORTH, Texas, April 13 - At least 41 Texas children have died from heat stroke after being left alone or trapped in a closed vehicle in the last nine years.

"Every one of these tragedies is avoidable," said NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, a father of two young children who spoke at a news conference sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors. "We hope by getting the Never Leave Your Child Alone message out now, before the heat really sets in, that lives can be saved."

Six Texas children died in 2006 from hypothermia, more than any other state and twice as many as killed by tornadoes. The 41 Texas children killed by hypothermia since 1998 led the nation and ranged in age from 2 months to 6 years old.

More than 320 children have died nationwide in the same period, most of them under 3 years of age, according to statistics compiled by Jan Null, Adjunct Professor of Meteorology at San Francisco State University.

A child's physiology and hot temperatures can be a deadly combination in just minutes.

"The inside of a vehicle can rise 19 degrees above the outside temperature in just 10 minutes," said Wes Bender, Safe Kids Buckle Up regional manager for Safe Kids Worldwide, GM's partner in child passenger safety programs. "After an hour, the temperature inside and outside temperature can differ by 45 degrees or more - even if the window is left open a crack."

"Children are more susceptible to heat stroke than adults because their bodies warm at a rate three to five times faster than adult bodies do," said Null. "Heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A core body temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit is considered lethal."

The Texas fatalities have occurred in outside temperatures between 73 F and 106 F.

Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors created the Never Leave Your Child Alone program to educate families on the dangers kids face in hot vehicles, said Beth Lowery, GM vice president of Environment, Energy & Safety Policy.

"A child is our most precious cargo and drivers must know that these deaths and injuries are entirely preventable," she said. "Our heart goes out to every family that has lost a child or children in this way. No one ever thinks it would happen to them, and that is why this message cannot be repeated too often."

Safe Kids suggests these tips for parents and caregivers:

* Teach children not to play in, on or around vehicles.

* Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.

* Always lock a vehicle's doors and trunk - especially at home. Keep keys and remote entry devices out of children's reach.

* Place something that you'll need at your next stop - such as a purse, lunch, gym bag or briefcase - on the floor of the backseat where the child is sitting. This simple act could help prevent you from accidentally forgetting a child.

-credit: gm racing

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton