The death of twins recently in New York City after their father mistakenly left them in the back seat of his car when he went to work has brought to light the importance of creating reminders to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in Missoula.

Safe Kids Missoula co-coordinator Kira Huck explains.

“There were two more heatstroke deaths over the weekend where a father had left his twins in the back seat of a car, and unfortunately that brings the 2019 number of vehicular heatstroke deaths up to 23,” said Huck, who recently visited Washington, D.C. to lobby Montana’s Congressional delegation on legislation to require car seat warnings in new vehicles. “I think they were all shocked on how often this happens,” she said. “They were really receptive to the information about how this happens to loving, caring and otherwise attentive caregivers and just how important it is to take steps to integrate education and technology. Education around heatstroke prevention is at an all time high, but unfortunately last years we had the highest number of heatstroke deaths on record.”

Huck emphasized the acronym ACT to remind parents and caregivers to check the back seat every time before exiting their vehicles.

“‘A’ is for avoid heatstroke by never leaving a child alone in a car for even a minute,” she said. “‘C’ stands for create reminders. This one is incredibly important for parents and caregivers, like putting your purse in the back seat, and ‘T’ stands for take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1, because they’re trained in knowing what to do to resolve the situation.”

This Wednesday is National Heatstroke Prevention Day. According to KidsAndCars.org, over 900 children have died in hot cars in the U.S.A since 1990.