Preventing Child Heat Stroke in Cars

Since 2007, 354 children have died from heatstroke after being locked in vehicles… 27 already this year. It is one of the leading causes of child death, and it can happen to anyone.

With all we have on our minds today, it can be easy to forget a child sleeping in the back seat. Never assume it can’t happen to you. Instead, take precautions to prevent this tragedy.

  • Place something in the back seat with the child that you need for your day, such as a cell phone, briefcase, or purse.
  • Put something, such as one of the child’s toys, in the front seat as a visual reminder.
  • Make it a habit to check your car when you get out. Always look to make sure you haven’t left your child or pet, even if you know for sure. Taking a few seconds every time to check your vehicle will create a habit that could save the life of your child.
  • Once you have ensured there is no one in the car, always lock it as soon as you are out. This will prevent a small child from getting into the vehicle without your knowledge. Once inside, the child may be unable to get out again. It can take just a few minutes for the child to overheat.
  • Have an arrangement with the child’s care provider that you will receive a call if the child does not arrive for school/daycare.

Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended. Children have died of vehicular heat stroke in nearly every month of the year in nearly every single state. Their little bodies heat up at 3-5 times the rate of an adult’s, so never leave them alone even “for just a minute.”

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, dial 911 immediately. Follow the operator’s instructions, and do not hang up until help arrives.

Together, we can prevent any other child from needlessly suffering this tragic death.


References and additional reading:

Null, J. (2016). Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles. San Jose State University, Department of Meteorology & Climate Science. San Jose: Golden Gate Weather Services. Retrieved from http://noheatstroke.org/

Prevent Child Heatstroke in Cars. (n.d.). Retrieved from Parents Central: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/InandAroundtheCar/heatstroke.htm

Preventing Heatstroke. (2016). (Children’s National Health System) Retrieved from Safe Kids Worldwide: http://www.safekids.org/preventing-heatstroke