Heatstroke Prevention

A child dies from heatstroke about once every 10 days from being left alone in a hot vehicle. In fact, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatality for kids 14 and younger. Children climb into unlocked cars to play or are left alone in the car. These are tragedies that are 100 percent preventable.

Never leave your child unsupervised in a vehicle, even for a minute! Temperatures inside a car, even on a mild and sunny day, can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Did you know that in nearly 30% of heatstroke cases, a child got into a vehicle on their own? If your child is missing, check your vehicle right away.  

The weather doesn’t have to be scorching hot to be dangerous. A 72 degree day can turn deadly for children, who are particularly susceptible to heatstroke because their bodies can heat up five times faster than adults.”

Cause

  • “More than half of heatstroke-related vehicle deaths occur because a distracted caregiver forgot a quiet child.  Always leave an important belonging – your phone, purse or wallet – in the back seat as a reminder to look before you lock.  Always check in with your spouse after dropping your children off at day care, especially if there’s been a change in routine – and request that your day care provider call you immediately if your child is ever unexpectedly absent.”
  • “Nearly a third of heatstroke deaths involving a child in a hot car are because a child was playing in the vehicle unsupervised.  Remind your kids to never play in or around vehicles, and if you can’t find your child, always check your car and trunk.”

Prevention

Prevention is the best way to keep heatstroke at bay.  Remember to ACT.

  • Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child in a vehicle, even for a minute.  Teach your children never to play in or around vehicles.
  • Create reminders and habits that give you and any caregivers a safety net.
    • Leave an important item – a purse, cell phone or wallet – in the rear seats, prompting you to check the back before locking the doors and walking away.
    • Arrange for your day care provider to call you if your child is unexpectedly absent.
    • Always check in with your spouse after day care drop off, particularly when there’s a change in routine.
  • Take action if you see an unattended child or pet in a vehicle. Dial 911 and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.