(UNDATED) - Summer hasn't even arrived, and yet already this year seven children have died of heat stroke after being left in vehicles.
KidsAndCars.org reports the following deaths in a 16-day period in May:
- A 5-month-old girl died May 10 in El Paso, Texas, after her mother, a high school teacher, unknowingly left her behind in her SUV.
- A 4-year-old boy died May 15 in Transylvania County, N.C., after his grandmother forgot to drop him off at daycare.
- A 11-month-old boy died May 16 in Miami, Fla., died after being left behind in his mother's car.
- A 1-year-old girl died May 17 in Dallas, Texas, after her mother, an elementary school teacher, unknowingly left her behind in her vehicle.
- A 1-year-old boy died May 24 in Corpus Christi, Texas, after his uncle forgot to drop him off at daycare.
- A 18-month-old boy and 2-month-old girl died May 26 in Glen Allen, Va., when they were left in the car while the mother was at work.
All of the children were left by a family member, and all but one child were under age 2.
"The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them, that they are not capable of inadvertently leaving their child behind," says Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, the leading national nonprofit child safety organization working to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles.
"This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents." Since the group began tracking data, more than 675 children have died in these preventable tragedies.
Remember the following "Look Before You Lock" BE SAFE tips from KidsAndCars.org:
- Back seat - Put something in the back seat so you have to open the back door when leaving the vehicle - cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.
- Every child should be correctly restrained in the back seat.
- Stuffed animal - Move it from the car seat to the front seat to remind you when your baby is in the back seat.
- Ask your babysitter or childcare provider to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn't arrived on time.
- Focus on driving - Avoid cell phone calls and texting while driving.
- Every time you park your vehicle open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind.
Through the "Look Before You Lock" educational campaign, the first of its kind, KidsAndCars.org has distributed more than 300,000 information cards to birthing hospitals nationwide.
KidsAndCars.org urges everyone to read "Fatal Distraction," Gene Weingarten's Pulitzer Prize-winning article in The Washington Post athttp://ow.ly/ldDwU, which explains how these heartbreaking and preventable tragedies can happen to anyone.
KidsAndCars.org fully supports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) new program, "Where's Baby, Look Before You.
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