It may only be June, but child safety groups are starting early reminding parents to be extra careful about leaving their children alone in a vehicle this summer.

Safe Kids Missoula Coalition co-coordinator Kira Huck said there’s good reason for the early start.

“Typically, this is heavily promoted in July, but we want to get that going earlier this year so that we can prevent heatstroke,” said Huck. “People think it has to be really hot for heatstroke to happen in a car, but unfortunately the first heatstroke deaths in the last two years have been in January and February.”

Huck said parents can use a simple acronym to help them make sure the tragedy of leaving a child in the car never happens, with the letters ACT.

“A is for avoid heatstroke by never leaving a child unattended in the car even for a minute,” she said. “C stands for create reminders. Put something that you need at your final destination in the back seat with your child, like your purse of your phone. Then, T is for take action, and this is for everyone. If you see a child alone in a closed car, call 9-1-1. Emergency personnel are trained to handle these situations, and your call could save a child’s life.”

Huck said Montana is fortunate that only two children have died of heatstroke in a car since 1998, however, on average 37 children die from heatstroke each year throughout the country.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM