PEDIATRIC VEHICULAR HEATSTROKE DEATH’S By Terence Morris author, and founder PACETULSA AGS FOUNDATION. Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

Paediatrics is the branch of medicine that involves the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends people seek pediatric care through the age of 21 – American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians. The national Safety Council Injury statistics site noted that since 1998, Oklahoma has recorded 29 PEDIATRIC VEHICULAR HEATSTROKE DEATH’S.

According to WebMd, Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Although heat stroke mainly affects people over age 50, it also takes a toll on healthy young athletes and is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children.

Vehicle heat stroke occurs when a child is left in a hot vehicle, allowing for the child’s temperature to rise in a quick and deadly manner.

On June 15, 2020, tragedy struck Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend when two young children, ages 4 and 3, died in a hot car while on a visitation weekend with their father. Tegan, 4, and Ryan, 3,  perished on Sunday and their father, Dustin Dennis, was arrested on two complaints of second-degree murder.

TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma father has pleaded guilty to charges of neglect in connection to the deaths of his children.

According to a criminal complaint, Dustin Lee Dennis fell asleep on June 13, 2020 and woke up several hours later to find his children dead in the backseat of his pickup truck.

A neighbor’s surveillance system allegedly showed Dennis leaving his home alone at around 12 p.m. for 11 minutes to head to a QuikTrip. When he returned home, he said he fell asleep.

During that time, surveillance cameras captured the children trying to get into his truck at 1:22 p.m. when the vehicle’s alarm went off.

Seven minutes later, they successfully got into the truck.

Dennis was then seen leaving his apartment and looking for the children around 5:32 p.m., which is when he made the tragic discovery.

Dustin Lee Dennis

Dennis was charged in Tulsa County with two counts of second-degree murder. However, those charges were dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction following a ruling by the United States Supreme Court.

On July 9, the Supreme Court ruled that much of eastern Oklahoma, including a large chunk of Tulsa, is still tribal land. The children, who were 3-years-old and 4-years-old, were members of the Cherokee Nation.

As a result,  the case was handed over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Dennis was then charged with felony child neglect for the children’s deaths.Court documents show that Dennis pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to a sentence between 36 and 72 months in prison, followed by supervised release. There were 24 such deaths without further information updates in 2021.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma there were 2 in 2020. None reported in 2021. Bringing Oklahoma’s Child Hot Car Death totals down from 9.5% to 0.00% for 2021.

Strokes begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermo-regulatory system is overwhelmed. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.

Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids, or whose routine suddenly changes., an national child safety organization that tracks hot car deaths, has a number of tips for parents.

Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or bystander of a child left in a car, it’s vitally important to understand children are more vulnerable to heat stroke than adults.

Use extra precautions when planning a trip with your child.  If necessary ask a friend or loved one to travel with your family.  Two supervisors are better than one.  Always be aware of your child’s presence.  Keep your baby hydrated at all times.  Make sure your child is properly dressed for the weather.

More Tips

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick,get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays. This is when many tragedies occur.

Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the gas pump.

The KidsAndCars.orgs advocates for the Hot Cars Act, a piece of legislation that would make it standard for all new cars to include technology designed to alert drivers if a child is left unattended. 

Hot Cars Act:  Can technology help prevent child death in sweltering vehicles?

The act passed the House of Representatives this year and a version was passed in the infrastructure Senate deal that would require technology to be included in new vehicles that gives a reminder to check the back seat. and other advocacy groups say that’s not enough, because it would not cover accidents like kids getting into cars on their own, which requires technology for occupant detection.

COPYRIGHT© 2022 | PACE TULSA AGS FOUNDATION “Pedestrian Awareness Crosswalk Education is an online think-tank intersecting awareness of public transportation policy in the United States.”

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