April 22, 2019: Heat Stroke Prevention Awareness Day

WHEREAS, since 1998, there were at least 794 deaths of children in vehicles from heat stroke in the United States. Ten of these deaths occurred in the State of Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, heat stroke may happen when the body overheats, usually because of exposure to high temperatures; and,

WHEREAS, most heat stroke deaths in vehicles were among children age five and under between 1998 and 2018, and 54 percent of these deaths occurred for children under the age of two; and,

WHEREAS, an estimated 572,370 Michigan residents, or nearly 6 percent of the population, are under the age of five; and,

WHEREAS, nearly 54 percent of these deaths were instances where the child was forgotten by a caregiver; and,

WHEREAS, 26 percent of these deaths were instances of children gaining access to an unattended vehicle; and,

WHEREAS, over 18 percent of these deaths occurred when the child was intentionally left in a vehicle by an adult; and,

WHEREAS, studies show that these incidents can occur on days with relatively mild temperatures, ranging around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and upwards, and that the temperature in vehicles can become life-threatening very rapidly; and,

WHEREAS, the bodily system in children that maintains a consistent internal body temperature is not as efficient as adults, and their body temperatures warm at a rate three to five times faster than adults; and,

WHEREAS, all these deaths are 100 percent preventable; and,

WHEREAS, Section 750.135a of Act 328 of 1931 Michigan Penal Code prohibits a person who is responsible for the care or welfare of a child from leaving a child under the age of six unattended in a vehicle for a period of time which may risk harm or injury to the child; and,

WHEREAS, concerted efforts are being made in Michigan to increase public awareness on the dangers of children left in vehicles through community and health care-based programs and partners, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of State, Michigan State Police, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and the community-based Safe Kids Coalitions in Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Injury and Violence Prevention Program will continue to collect data to monitor incidents of vehicle-related heat stroke related deaths in children.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan do hereby proclaim April 22, 2019, as “Heat Stroke Prevention Awareness Day” in Michigan and call upon our citizens and interested groups to observe the day with appropriate activities that promote awareness of heat stroke prevention especially as it relates to motor vehicles.