Infants Dying in Car Seats

Are you leaving your infant in their car seat because they are asleep and you’ve arrived at your location? If they are still properly strapped in, that’s okay but if you’re in the habit of unbuckling them they are in danger of death by positional asphyxiation.


Positional asphyxiation occurs in infants who don’t have the neck strength to lift their head. If they aren’t properly trapped in they can slump forward and their head can fall on their chest and, because they don’t have strength in their neck muscles they can’t lift their head enough to open up their airways in order to breathe.

Read about one such death and the efforts of Shepard Dodd’s parents to spread the word in order to save the lives of other infants. Better yet, spread the word. In simply talking about this post here at work several women admitted that they have let their infant who wasn’t strapped in sleep in a car seat in the past. My guess is that most parents have no idea.

We Have A Little Emergency (W.H.A.L.E.) program

From the website:

“W.H.A.L.E.™ stands for “We Have A Little Emergency.” This car seat safety program was developed by Connie Day, a caregiver from Virginia. In the event of an automobile accident that incapacitates the adult driver and passengers, rescue personnel will have a difficult time identifying children riding in car safety seats. In some situations, these adults may not be related to the child passenger; therefore, conventional means of obtaining information will be useless. In these cases, W.H.A.L.E.™ can make a significant difference.”

The program consists of three parts:

1. An Information Label is attached to the back of the car seat, which provides important information about the child, such as name, date of birth, medical history and who to contact in case of emergency. The label is placed on the back of the car seat where it is not visible from outside the vehicle. This ensures the privacy of this personal information.

2. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Car Seat Stickers are attached to the sides of the seat.

3. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Vehicle Stickers are attached to the rear/side windows of the vehicle. Each of these stickers depicts the W.H.A.L.E™ logo and will alert emergency personnel that the occupants participate in the program.

Read more about the W.H.A.L.E. program and find out where to get your kit at

Don’t let Babies Nap in Car Seat Unattended

We’ve all seen it and many of us have done it. The infant is asleep and we don’t want to wake him or her so we just unbuckle the car seat and leave the child in the car seat to nap while we go about our business.

Truth is that infants die each year because of this practice. The problem is generally that the straps choke them or they die of asphyxiation because their body slips into a position where breathing is difficult.

The bottom line is that a car seat is intended for the child to sit in and sleep while in a vehicle. If used in this manner, the child is under constant supervision. Never leave a child in a car seat unsupervised, even for a couple of minutes.

Hair Straighteners and Burns

Hair Straighteners, which can reach temperatures over 400 degrees, are responsible for an alarming number of burns in children. According to an article in the Mirror, one hospital in England reported 110 burns treated on children in the past 5 years while another reported 155.

That’s a lot of burns on children, frighteningly, many of whom are under 2 years of age.

Children are at a lot greater risk when it comes to burns because “their skin is up to 15 times thinner than adults.” Some of these children required plastic surgery and skin grafts.

Injuries are caused when children grab the straightener or when it falls off the counter on them.

Parents need to be aware of the fact that these straighteners look like toys to small children. Additionally, parents need to realize that straighteners can take over 15 minutes to cool down enough not to cause serious burns.

Are your blinds a hidden danger?

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, cords from blinds kill about one child a month. If you have small children, you owe it to yourself and to their future to replace the corded blinds with cordless ones. To heighten awareness of this danger, October has been declared National Window Covering Safety Month.

The 12 deaths a year from window cord strangulations are preventable. Download a guide to help you find out if your window blind cords pose a risk to infants.

Best solution of all, replace all blinds with cordless blinds.

Hyperthermia Heat Stroke

Hyperthermia Heat Stroke: Summer Heat Makes It Especially Dangerous to Leave Children or Pets in Cars.

Heat coming back again to our Plateau area and temperature up near 100 degrees the rest of the week and weekend. Across the country record Highs and Dangerous Temperatures continue throughout the entire United States. The risk of a serious injury or death during hot weather is heightened for children and pets left alone in vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned. New research shows that for children hyperthermia (heat-stroke) is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths.

Even with the windows rolled down two inches, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a vehicle to reach deadly temperatures on a hot summer day, said Ronald Medford, Acting Deputy Administrator of NHTSA. Children or pets should never be left alone in or around a motor vehicle, not even for a quick errand. Any number of things can go critically wrong in the blink of an eye.


  • Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2012: 11
  • Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2011: 33
  • Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 1998-present: 538


· An examination of media reports about the 538 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths for an thirteen year period (1998 through 2011) shows the following circumstances:

· 51% – child “forgotten” by caregiver (278 Children)

· 30% – child playing in unattended vehicle (154)

· 17% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (99)

· 1% – circumstances unknown (7)

What is hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is overheating of the body.The word is made up of “hyper” (high) + “thermia” from the Greek word “thermes” (heat). Hyperthermia is literally high heat. There are a variety of heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Other heat-

related health problems include heat cramps, heat rash and sunburn.

Summer can bring heat waves with unusually high temperatures that last for days and sometimes weeks. In the summer of 1980, a severe heat wave hit the United States, and nearly 1,700 people lost their lives from heat-related illness. Likewise, in the summer of 2003, tens of thousands of people died of the heat in Europe. High temperatures put people at risk. 2012 has been another record setting year with numerous days with high heat indexes. So far 11 children have lost their lives to hyperthermia.

What causes hyperthermia and heat-related illnesses?

People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs.

Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions that can limit the ability to regulate temperature include old age, obesity, fever (illness), dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, and drug, and alcohol use.

Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:

  • infants and children up to four years of age
  • people 65 years of age or older
  • people who are overweight
  • people who overexert during work or exercise
  • people who are ill or on certain medications

Infants and children up to four years of age are very sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.

People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Overweight people may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.

Any health condition that causes dehydration makes the body more susceptible to heat-related illness. If you or someone you know is at higher risk, it is important to drink plenty of fluids (water), avoid overexertion, and get your doctor or pharmacist’s advice about medications being taken for:

  • high blood pressure,
  • depression,
  • nervousness,
  • mental illness,
  • insomnia, or
  • poor circulation.


Only 19 states have laws specifically addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. The remaining 31 states do not have laws specifically against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle Currently only 1 state, Utah, has proposed legislation that would make it a crime to leave a child unattended in a vehicle Another 14 states have had previously proposed unattended child laws


Heatstroke occurs when a person’s temperature exceeds 103 degrees F and their thermoregulatory mechanism is overwhelmed
– Symptoms include: dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweating, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations and death.

A core body temperature of 107 degrees F is considered lethal as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down Children’s thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult’s and their body temperatures warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adults.


The atmosphere and the windows of a car are relatively transparent to the suns shortwave radiation and are warmed little. However this shortwave energy does heat objects that it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200 degrees F.

These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off long wave radiation (red) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.


  • Average elapsed time and temperature rise
    • 10 minutes ~ 19 deg F
    • 20 minutes ~ 29 deg F
    • 30 minutes ~ 34 deg F
    • 60 minutes ~ 43 deg F
    • 1 to 2 hours ~ 45-50 deg F
  • Cracking the windows had little effect
  • Vehicle interior color probably biggest factor
  • “Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area … but it can easily become tragedy”


  • Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
  • Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
  • Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
  • Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.
  • Dont leave your pets in the car either!! Same affects can happen to them!


Information provided by the NHTSA, NWS and

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

Children and Button Battery Safety

Sometimes good things don’t necessarily come in small packages. In this age of miniaturization, button batteries have become more and more common as replacements for the larger size batteries that have been around for decades. That’s all fine and good except that parents don’t realize that they are inadvertently leaving these batteries within easy reach of small children and that these button batteries are a potential health hazard.

Many remotes, for example, now have the button batteries. The remotes aren’t typically things that parents think to try to keep away from infants and toddlers. Children, however, can get into these remotes and before you know it they’ve swallowed the battery.

Energizer Battery company is teaming up with Safe Kids USA to try to help raise awareness of a growing threat to child safety.

An article on CBS News reports that “Eleven children have died after swallowing button batteries over the past six years, and the National Capital Poison Center said about 3,500 swallowing cases are reported annually in the U.S. The U.S.”

Energizer and Safe Kids USA is trying to help parents and care givers understand the need to keep button batteries away from small children. Keep them in their original packaging until you need to use them (Energizer is presently working to make the packages more difficult for children to get into) and make sure that you keep any items that contain button batteries out of children’s reach. This often includes remotes.

Top Ten Things to Watch for at Home # 2

2. Standing Water

A friend of mine lost his granddaughter when she drowned in a 5-gallon bucket of water.

As sad and heartbreaking as this is, what’s even sadder is the fact that this type of accidental drowning is all too common.

We all love the pool when the weather gets hot, we love the sound of running water from the fountain that we installed but we need to be aware that even a couple of inches of water can be fatal. In the case of my friend, all it took was a 5-gallon bucket of water. His 2 year old leaned over, slipped and fell in and got stuck. It was a matter of a couple of minutes. Don’t assume that someone was negligent and that this could never happen to you. There isn’t one of us who keeps his eyes on his children or grandchildren for every single second of the day and it only takes a couple of minutes for a child to drown.

Potential sources of danger include:

  • Bathtubs
  • Buckets and pails, especially 5-gallon buckets and diaper pails
  • Ice chests (ice can rapidly become water and lids can slam shut on infants and toddlers)
  • Toilets
  • Hot tubs
  • Pools
  • Ponds
  • Fountains
  • Hot Tubs
  • Irrigation ditches and anywhere that a substantial amount of water can accumulate

The Fix

  1. Above ground pools that are big enough to require a ladder should have the ladder removed when the pool is not in use. Never leave children unattended near the pool.
  2. Wading pools should be drained when not in use. When in use, NEVER leave small children unattended. Have the children get out of the pool and go with you if you need to go somewhere.
  3. Underground pools should be fenced in with a lock on the fence. Children should not be able to wander into the enclosure.
  4. Always empty all buckets, pails and bathtubs completely when done using them.
  5. Install lids latches on toilets and never allow children to play in the bathroom unattended.
  6. Never leave a child alone in the bathtub. Never allow another child to watch infants or toddlers while in the bathtub.
  7. Use a rigid cover for your hot tub. Make sure that it locks or is otherwise impossible for small children to lift.

The bottom line is to always think about the worse possible scenario and protect against it. As with pans on the stove, never, ever leave children unattended near standing water even for an instant. A “second” has a way of rapidly turning into a few minutes and even a few seconds can be too long.