OMAHA, Neb. –
It’s a frightening statistic… 37 children die every year in the U.S. after being left in hot cars, according to the National Safety Council. Ten minutes is all it takes. “In 10 minutes it can go from 80 to 100 degrees in the car,” said Eric Koeppe, the president and CEO of National Safety Council of Nebraska.
742 children have died of heatstroke in vehicles in the U.S. between 1998 and 2017 according to the National Safety Council. “If we look over the years people are in a hurry, they get to their location and just go on about their day with what they are doing and quite sadly forget that they have their child in the car with them,” said Koeppe.
He also said that there are three main ways children can die from heatstroke in a vehicle. 55% of parents or caregivers unknowingly leave their child behind while 18% purposefully leave a child inside. The other 27% come from children gaining access to the car on their own. “Always try to keep your keys and your key faubs out of a location that they can get to if you’ve locked your car at home,” said Koeppe.
However, Koeppe says a surprising statistic from this report is that 56% of the time children will die from heat stroke in a vehicle at their home…with the work location directly following at 25%. “It’s just concerning that we have this happening that people for either being busy or a lot of times now I think that you can attribute some of it to distraction that you’re engaged on your cell phone or some other device as you pull up to your location and you just simply forget what you are there for,” said Koeppe.
The National Safety Council report also states that 21 states have laws regarding unattended children in a car. Nebraska is one of them, only when it comes to children six and under being left. And the type of punishment for that violation is not defined. “I think it’s just important that you establish a routine to always check the back seat,” said Koeppe. Because ten minutes can be all it takes.
To read the full report click here.