Local News

July 31, 2013

Vehicles can be death traps for children left alone


During a recent conference that Passino attended, parents relayed on how their lives were dramatically and tragically changed after losing a child to vehicle-related heatstroke.

In one case, a mother typically brought the child to day care, but on this particular day, the father had that responsibility. After the child fell asleep in the safety seat in the back seat, he forgot and drove to work. 

The parents did not learn of the mistake until noontime, and, by then, the child had succumbed to heatstroke.

“When a normal pattern is broken, this kind of situation can happen,” Passino said.

Having a system where the day-care provider will contact a parent if a child does not arrive one morning and a parent hasn’t called to say the child is sick can help eliminate that potential for tragedy, she added.


Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. There are also a staggering number of near misses, children who were rescued from a sealed car before a fatality. 

In Palm Beach County, Fla., for instance, more than 500 of these types of near misses were recorded in one year alone.

Safe Kids is promoting the acronym ACT in its efforts to reduce the potential for heatstroke tragedy: Avoid, Create reminders and Take action.

Locking the car when it’s parked in the driveway, never leaving children unattended and placing a briefcase or purse next to the child’s car seat are all steps people can take to protect their children from tragedy.

Anyone who sees a child left alone in a car should call 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations, and that one call could save a life, Passino said.

Email Jeff



The Safe Kids Coalition is holding a free car-seat check and children's day at the Plattsburgh Farmers Market off Durkee Street in the City of Plattsburgh from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10.

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