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"Spot the Tot" program
ALBANY – As the summer season inches closer and temperatures heat up, there’s the increased risk of children suffering heat stroke from being left in a vehicle.
According to the USAA Educational Foundation a vehicle’s interior can reach deadly temperatures within 10 minutes, even with the windows cracked. It also says children’s bodies can overheat 3 to 5 times faster than adult’s because they absorb more heat and sweat less.
“Anything over 107 degrees is very poor for the child because they can heat up to that quickly.” Says Dr. David Clarke, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Albany Medical Center. He says an average of 40 to 50 children die in a hot car each year. “People forget. Their minds are preoccupied on what they need to be doing and they forget they have a child with them.”
Like Dr. Clarke, Cynthia Dort of the Cornell Cooperative Extension is part of a global network called ‘Safe Kids’. Among its several elements, ‘Safe Kids’ has a campaign called ‘Spot the Tot’.
“We need to do things to remind ourselves in our busy lives that our child is in the backseat.” Dort says.
To do this, ‘Spot the Tot’ offers free, removable stickers to place on the driver’s side door so they’re visible to any driver exiting the vehicle.
If you don’t have a sticker, Dr. Clarke says leaving something particular in the backseat will help avoid leaving a child behind.
“The trick is to leave something precious you’d never leave when you leave the car. A pocket book near the child, maybe. Or iIf you work in an office a briefcase that way when you leave you have to go back to get it and realize – your baby is in the car too.
For more information on the ‘Spot the Tot’ program: www.usa.safekids.org