Hot Car Deaths can Happen to Your Family
This unthinkable tragedy has happened to thousands of parents. And not one of them thought it could ever happen to them. Because when a child is left in a hot car, it’s not a failure of love or responsibility. It’s a failure of memory. An attentive, caring parent gets lost in routine and forgets to drop off their child at school. Forgets to go to daycare first. Or doesn’t realize the child is in the vehicle in the first place. It’s hard to imagine, but it happens, almost once every week. The first step to preventing it is believing that it can happen to you.
Not All Hot Car Deaths are Failures of Memory
More than half of all hot car deaths occurred because a parent left a child in a car intentionally. Or, a child got into a parked car and couldn’t get out. These deaths are so preventable. Never leave a child in a car unattended. Not for a few minutes. Not with the window cracked. Not in the shade. Not ever. Heat stroke can kill faster than you think. And always lock your car doors. Even if you think your kids are old enough to get out. Even if you’ll only be a minute. Even if you don’t have kids. Do whatever it takes to ensure this never happens to you or someone you love.
- An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the USA since 1998.
- Since 1998, more than 849 children have died in vehicles from heat stroke in the USA.
- More than 70% of heat stroke deaths occur in children younger than age 2.
- 44% of heat stroke deaths occur because a caregiver forgot the child in the car.
- Roughly 26% of heat stroke deaths occur because the child got in the car without a caregiver knowing and couldn't get out.
- Nearly 30% of deaths occur because a caregiver intentionally left the child in the car.
- Cars heat up quickly. A vehicle can heat up 20 degrees in 10 minutes.
- Cracking the windows or not parking in direct sunlight does not make a car significantly cooler. Heat stroke deaths have occurred even when the vehicle was parked in shade.
- A car can reach 110 degrees when temperatures are only in the 60s. Heat stroke can take place when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.
- The body temperatures of children can increase three to five times faster than adults. Heat stroke begins when the body passes 104 degrees. Reaching an internal temperature of 107 degrees can be deadly.
What You Can Do
- Never leave a child alone in a motor vehicle.
- Make a habit of checking your back seat.
- When strapping a child into a car seat, leave a reminder like a cell phone or even your left shoe in back with them.
- If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911.
- After parking your car, lock it. Children who get inside an unlocked vehicle can become trapped.