Be Child Safe

Child Safety

Childhood Deaths that Need Not Occur–If We Would Only Think and Pay Attention!


Hot Cars!

The sixth hot-car death occurred a few days ago, in Brandon, Mississippi. The baby who died after being left in the back-seat of her mother’s car was two-years old. According to the ABC News station WALB, and “, a public safety awareness website for child safety, Mississippi ranks 16th among states with the most child vehicular heatstroke deaths with a total of 16 deaths between 1995 and 2016” in the U.S. (WALB, ABC News, May 11, 2016). So far, 6 children have succumbed in hot cars in the U.S. this year. There were 24 vehicular heatstroke deaths of children left in cars, in the United States in 2015. Since 1998, there have been 667 of this type of unnecessary childhood death. (“Child Vehicular Heatstroke Deaths”, Null, Jan, Dept. of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose’ State University, Updated May 11, 2016) The NHTSA advises parents to leave a clue in the backseat like a purse or briefcase which would urge a parent to check the back seat and a child’s toy in the front seat as a reminder there’s a child in the car.

Improper Seatbelting

Children are also at risk if they are not properly placed in booster or child seats in cars. According to CBS News, Ryan Jaslow’s account, “Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children older than 3 in the U.S. and cause another 179,000 child injuries each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), child safety seats cut death risk by 71 percent for infant passengers and 54 percent for toddlers between the ages of 1 and 4 – if they are used properly.” (CBS, “U.S. Children At Risk From Poor Adherence to Car Seat Guidelines, Study Warns” Jaslow, Ryan, Health Editor, ) It would make sense to use the child safety seats properly. But often, parents who do not use seat belts do not ensure their children are properly seat belted! The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to place infants and toddlers in rear facing seats until they reach age 2 (or exceed the seat’s weight or height maximums).


Drownings are one of the leading causes of childhood death and injury, and non-fatal drownings may cause lasting brain damage. The problem of accidental (non-boating-related) drownings is a major one in the United States, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accidental drownings average more than 3,500/year or about 10/day, according to the CDC. “About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30329-4027 )

Lastly, we need to remind our blog’s readers of this unhappy cause of childhood deaths:

Weapons in The Home Not Locked Up

May 4, 2016, the Orlando Sentinel published an article about a babysitter who brought a loaded weapon into a home where he was babysitting. A 6-year old child in Sanford, Florida, died from the apparently resulting accidental shooting. Over 2 years ago, a toddler got into a backpack brought into his grandmother’s home in Washington, D.C. That child died from an accidental shooting. Why are loaded weapons left on dressers, or in closets, or under pillows, or on bedside tables, or in backpacks–not locked up high where inquisitive children cannot get ahold of them? What is wrong with people who think they are immune to accidents like these? Why do any parents think their children are smart enough not to touch a gun belonging to another family member or guest in their home? Family members, caregivers and babysitters should know better. Parents and grandparents should know better. “Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.” (“Guns in the Home Proving Deadly For Kids”, USA, May 28, 2013,

The sad statistics speak for themselves. Parents must be mindful of their charges and not worry about being perceived as overly concerned or over-protective. Children are precious cargo, they are the future. Young lives should not be snuffed out due to carelessness or neglect.

Author: Marianne Halterman

Marianne is a member of the SafeKids Coalition of the Central Shenandoah Valley.

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