Children, Youth and Families Department
As temperatures across New Mexico begin to rise, Governor Susana Martinez is urging parents and other adults not to leave children inside hot cars. “Every spring and summer, heartbreaking and preventable deaths and injuries happen when children are left alone in hot cars,” said Governor Martinez. “Losing even one child to this preventable tragedy is unacceptable. We need to have a unified effort by parents and other adults to look out for young ones who may be in danger when left alone inside a hot car.” In New Mexico, nine children have died of heatstroke after being left in cars between 1998 and 2012. Last August, a 2-year-old boy died in Albuquerque after a family member accidentally left him in a hot car outside a daycare center. “These are preventable tragedies,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Retta Ward, MPH. “People suffer heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion when the body’s temperature-control system is overloaded. New Mexico’s children and seniors in particular need to be watched and cared for. There is no excuse for leaving a vulnerable adult or child alone in a hot vehicle.
An examination of media reports about the 559 child vehicular heatstroke deaths nationwide for that same thirteen-year period (1998 through 2012) shows the following circumstances:
· 52% - child "forgotten" by caregiver (288 Children)
· 29% - child playing in unattended vehicle (163)
· 18% - child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (100)
· 1% - circumstances unknown (8)
It is very important for anyone who witnesses a child left alone in a vehicle to call local law enforcement as soon as possible.
For more information, visit www.nmhealth.org.