While sunny days mean summer fun for many youngsters, the heat of the season can have deadly consequences. In fact, heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children, killing dozens of children each year,according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Interior temps spike quickly – in just 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can soar over 20 degrees. On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year – from heat-related deaths – after being trapped inside motor vehicles. Kids and Cars
Sadly, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Media reports on heatstroke deaths from 1998-2013 reveal that 50% of these children’s deaths happened when a parent or caregiver simply forgot a child was in the backseat. Most often these incidents happen because a parent is distracted or tired and forgets about a sleeping child in back. Kids Dying of Heatstroke in Cars
Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids or whose routine suddenly changes.
Whether you’re a parent, caregiver or bystander of a child left in a car, it’s critical understand children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults.
A new car seat by Evenflo even alerts a driver that a child is still in the car after the ignition is turned off. Preventing Hot Car Related Deaths
Additionally, parents should follow these important rules and tips to protect children from heatstroke:
- Always check the front and back seats of vehicle before locking it and walking away. Get in the habit of stashing your purse or work bag behind the driver’s seat, which forces you to open the car’s rear door to grab your bag – and your child before – leaving the car. If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
- Never leave a child in car alone – again, children’s body temperatures rise much faster than adults and a temperature of 107 is lethal for children.
- Never let children play in an unattended car. Always keep doors and trunk locked and keys out of reach of children
- If you see a child alone in a car, don’t worry about getting involved in someone else’s business – protecting children is everyone’s business. Always make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
- Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes or holiday periods – this is when many tragedies occur.
Signs of heatstroke include a temperature of 104 degrees or higher, nausea or vomiting, flushed (red) skin, racing heart rate, skin that is hot but dry to the touch and confusion or strange behavior
If you encounter someone suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately. For more information, visit Prevent Child Heatstroke in Cars