Kids & Hot Cars – A Deadly Combination

6904890_mAn average of 38 children die of heatstroke while trapped in cars each year. More than half are unintentionally left in the vehicle and over 30% got into the vehicle on their own. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its “Where’s the baby? Look before you lock,” campaign back in 2012, and the message is still relevant today.

The Dangers

  • A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s because children’s thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient
  • Heatstroke occurs when body temperature rises above 104 degrees
  • A body temperature of 107 or greater is deadly
  • Those who survive heatstroke can suffer permanent brain injuries, blindness, and hearing loss
  • The temperature inside your car can rise by 20 degrees in as little as ten minutes, and it keeps rising
  • Cracking the windows, even rolling them down as much as two inches, does almost nothing to keep the car cool
  • When it is in the 60’s outside, your car can get over 110 degrees inside


We urge you to never leave your child alone in the car, even for just a minute. However, the majority of heatstroke deaths are the result of unintentionally leaving infants and children in cars.

Parents do not want to believe that they could ever forget their child, but it happens all the time. It is more common when the caregiver is not the person who usually transports the child, whether it is a parent, another relative, or a hired caregiver.

Tips for avoiding this tragedy include:

  • If you are dropping your child off, and you are not the person who normally does this, have the other parent call you to make sure you did not forget and leave the child in the car.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the car seat when it is not occupied. Move the stuffed animal to the front seat when your child is in the car seat, so you will be alerted visually.
  • Make it a habit to always check the front and back seat before locking and walking away from your car. Do it every time, even when you know your child is not with you, so it becomes second nature.
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