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SOURCE Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new national survey released today shows that public awareness of the dangers of leaving young children alone in hot vehicles has risen dramatically -- by nearly 25 percent -- since the start of the summer.
The survey, conducted online from August 8-13 by Public Opinion Strategies, found that 85 percent of the respondents had seen, read, or heard "a lot" or "some" about children suffering from heatstroke in vehicles, compared to 69 percent in a survey released by Safe Kids Worldwide in April. Significantly, the percentage of those seeing, reading, and hearing "a lot" jumped from 20 percent to 37 percent, while those seeing, reading, and hearing "nothing at all" dropped from 10 percent to 5 percent.
Most of the 95 percent who have some awareness of the issue recall stories in the news media about parents who left children in the car while shopping, or while going to bars, beauty salons or casinos. This summer, there has been a great deal of attention about a Georgia father who was charged with homicide for leaving his child in a hot car, with some recalling several details about the case.
The survey also showed that there was also a substantial increase in awareness for parents and those who transport young children, from 72 percent to 85 percent. In this category, 38 percent now have a high level of knowledge about the child safety issue.
The survey was commissioned by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
Since record keeping began in 1998, at least 629 young children, most three years of age and younger, have died in hot cars, primarily when left in the vehicle by a parent or caregiver or by being trapped after gaining access to an unlocked car.
So far this year, there have been 23 child deaths in hot cars. By this time in 2013, one of the worst years on record, 32 children had died. The annual average since 1998 is 38.
"The increased level of awareness is very encouraging," said meteorologist Jan Null of San Jose State University, who has helped raise awareness of these tragedies and maintains the most complete data on the subject. "Media attention to high profile incidents this year and enhanced prevention campaigns by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide and others have been effective in educating the public, which certainly has saved children's lives. We must continue these efforts to translate the heightened awareness into safer behavior by caregivers and more attention by bystanders who see children in danger and inform public safety officials."
"Many people are shocked to learn that the temperature inside of a car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking the window doesn't help," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "We know that the best way to protect children from this very preventable tragedy is by raising awareness and educating parents, caregivers and bystanders. This new research shows that we are making progress, which is saving lives. We're calling on everyone to stay vigilant, keep spreading the word, and remember to never leave a child alone in a car and to look before you lock."
The survey further found that:
Parents, caregivers and bystanders are encouraged to help reduce the number of heatstroke deaths by remembering to ACT.
The survey results will be available at www.Itsthatserious.org/survey-results.
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