Emergency responders: Protect your children from heatstroke - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Emergency responders: Protect your children from heatstroke

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GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) -

Don't leave your kids in a hot car. It sounds obvious, but according to Smart Kids Worldwide, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children.

On average, a child dies every 10 days from heatstroke in a vehicle, according to Smart Kids.

James Landis is a fire inspector with the Gastonia Fire Department. He says there have been several cases where a parent forgets a child in the car.

"Sometimes mom or dad has the kid on a morning that they usually don't. Sounds impossible, but it happens. They forget. Babies and young kids can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there," Landis said.

According to Safe Kids, young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult's.

First responders tell WBTV that in 2011 there were 33 children that died as a result of being left alone in a hot car. That number climbed to 34 in 2012. In 2013, the number of cases hit 43.

Safe Kids urges parents to reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT.

A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids don't get in on their own.

C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you're not following your normal routine.

T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

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