Home Preparedness Heatstroke is Preventable: Children Die When Left Alone in Hot Cars
Heatstroke is Preventable: Children Die When Left Alone in Hot Cars

Heatstroke is Preventable: Children Die When Left Alone in Hot Cars

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

As we move further into the summer months, there will undoubtedly be cases of children left in hot cars. In many circumstances, these children will die because cars can reach staggering temperatures in just a few minutes.

Heat-related deaths of children are one of the most tragic occurrences because they are preventable. Some of these heat-related deaths have a few things in common. So, taking into account some precautions can help prevent these tragic deaths.

Auto Interiors Heat Up Rapidly

The interior of a car becomes extremely hot rapidly. No Heat Stroke, an organization dedicated to preventing childhood deaths in hot cars, offers sobering statistics about children left in hot cars: Between 1998 and May 2017, 709 children left in cars have died of heatstroke. All of them could have been prevented. Even with the windows open a car can increase 20 degrees in about 10 minutes. So far this year nine children have died, seven of them in southern states, where summer heat usually comes early. It is important that public safety officials work to educate the public about this recurring tragedy.

Out of the Normal Routine

In several cases, parents accidentally left their children alone in a hot car because they forgot they were in the car. In one tragic event, a hospital chief executive officer and mother in Iowa left her 7-month-old baby in the car when she rushed off to a meeting. The temperature was close to 90 degrees at the time.

In another tragic instance, a 6-month -old baby was left behind in the car when his father went to work at Wal-Mart store in Texas. He claimed he forgot to take the child to daycare. The temperature during the day reached 100 degrees.

Remember that Children are in the Backseat

Because parents are busy, it is important to come up with some quick and easy reminders that children are in the backseat of the car. One writer explains that parents should come up with a few things to help them remember. Blogger Julie Harrison says setting reminders on a phone and putting the diaper bag in the front seat of the car will help parents to remember they have their children in the care.

Hot car deaths can be prevented. As a public safety issue, it is important that emergency managers and other members of the public educate citizens about hot car deaths and how to prevent them.

Click here to get a Heatstroke Prevention Toolkit (English/Spanish).



American Military University
Allison G. S. Knox An emergency medical technician and a political scientist, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior ... learn more

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