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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: July 9, 2013


Children left inside vehicles during high summer temperatures are in real danger. Two children in Maryland and two in Virginia recently died from being left in parked vehicles. Delaware's Division of Public Health reminds drivers that they are key to preventing deaths.

Even with the windows cracked open, a car's interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 50 percent of the children who died from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle, according to San Francisco State University. Thirty percent of kids who died from hyperthermia were left unattended by an adult or gained entry into an unlocked vehicle and became trapped and overcome by heat. It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car.

Take the following steps to protect children:

Heed the following heat danger warnings signs and take suggested actions: Heat cramps occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen occurring during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water. Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms may include:

Take these steps for heat exhaustion:

Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself. Prompt medical treatment is required. Overdressing and time spent in hot vehicles can lead to heatstroke. Symptoms may include:

Take these steps for heat stroke:

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.