8-month-old's death a tragic reminder of hot car danger
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says Wednesday’s tragic death of an 8-month-old girl in a hot car highlights just how dangerous it can be to leave children in a parked vehicle.
"While we don't yet know all the details about the heartbreaking death of Raylee Mercer, we do know she had been left in a hot car for two hours," said John LeBlanc of the LHSC. "It is vitally important to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. If anyone notices a child alone in a car, they should take immediate action.”
According to the NHTSC, parents, babysitters or bystanders should take the following steps immediately in the event that they spot a child left alone in a car who is not responsive or appears to be in distress:
- Call 911
- Get the child out of the car
- Spray the child with cool water (not an ice bath)
The warning signs of heat stroke include red, hot and moist or dry skin, no sweating, strong and rapid pulse or slow and weak pulse, confusion and strange behavior.
LeBlanc also advises parents and babysitters to get into the habit of checking the back seat of their vehicles before locking the car and walking away. One tip is to keep a stuffed animal or another reminder in the child’s car seat when it is empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when a child occupying the backseat.
In an instance of cruel coincidence, the girl’s death fell on the day that had officially been declared by the NHTSA as Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention Day. The NHTSA says 671 children have died from heatstroke in cars in the U.S. since 1998.
For more tips and info on preventing vehicular heatstroke, please visit: www.kidsandcars.org/userfiles/dangers/heat-stroke/heat-stroke-safety-tips.pdf or www.safercar.gov/parents/InandAroundtheCar/heatstroke.htm.