On April 13, a child died in Florida from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, the first recorded heatstroke death for 2019.

There were 51 vehicular heatstroke deaths in 2018, one in Glasgow, Montana, and 798 since 1998, according to Kira Huck with Safe Kids Missoula.

“In the summertime, we do a lot to promote heatstroke prevention in vehicles,” said Huck. “However, over the last few years, we’re been trying to get the word out sooner, ahead of the hot summertime months so that people can make sure they’re prepared and taking steps to prevent vehicular heatstroke.”

Huck said vehicular heatstroke doesn’t necessarily always take place in the heat of summer. There have been heatstroke deaths in January and February in some southern states when the temperatures have been in the 50’s and 60’s.

“We use an acronym called ACT,” she said. “The first letter is ‘A’ and that stands for avoiding heatstroke by never leaving a child alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute. In addition, your vehicle should always be locked so that children cannot gain access to your vehicle, such as your trunk. The ‘C’ stands for creating reminders, such As placing something you’ll need when you leave the vehicle in the back seat next to the child’s car seat, or working with your childcare provider to make sure that they’re checking in with you if your child is not dropped off. The ‘T’ is for taking action, and that’s for the whole community, so if you see a child alone in a car to call 9-1-1.”

The 51 vehicular heatstroke deaths was the highest number since statistics have been taken starting in 1998.

Get more details by visiting the Safe Kids Missoula website.