Heat Stroke Prevention
Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It’s what can happen if a young child is left alone in a hot car and the child’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels. And it happens FAST!
Did you know that a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s? It only takes a few short minutes before a child can become dangerously overheated. Since 1998, more than 635 children across the U.S. have died as a result of heat stroke (also known as hyperthermia). For every child who dies after being left alone in a hot car, hundreds more are near misses- those rescued before a fatality.
Babies and young children can sometimes sleep so peacefully in the car that we forget they are even there. It can also be tempting to leave a baby alone in a car while we quickly run into the store. ALWAYS take your child with you when you leave the vehicle. A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes and cracking a window doesn’t help. When a child’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees, the internal organs start to shut down. When it reaches 107 degrees, the child can die. Together we can reduce the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.
Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death
- Never leave your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
- Consistently lock unattended vehicle doors and trunks so children can’t climb in to play.
Create reminders and habits that give you and your child’s caregiver a safety net
- Establish a peace-of-mind plan. When you drop off your child, make a habit of calling or texting all other caregivers, so all of you know where your child is at all times.
- Place a purse, briefcase, gym bag, cell phone or an item that is needed at your next stop in the back seat.
- Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle
- Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide- they are trained to determine if a child is in danger.