Did you know that more than 38 children die in hot cars every year and July is proven to be the deadliest month due to the rising temperatures? It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, yet, it happens too often. While parents and caretakers are on high alert for their children’s safety and use a car seat as they should, some become forgetful and accidentally leave their young child strapped in for too long, causing harm and even death.
It seems obvious that states with the highest temperatures are usually where the most deaths by vehicular heatstroke happen, but there have been instances recorded in nearly every state. According to NoHeatStroke.org, Texas had the most such deaths from 1998 to 2015, with 100. Florida had 72 deaths, California had 44, Arizona had 30 and North Carolina had 24. A vast majority of these victims are 3 years old or younger. More than half are 1 year old or younger. As Kids and Cars' research notes, the prevalence of backseat safety seats, especially rear-facing ones, may account for the young age of most victims, since the children are out of the driver's view and can't effectively communicate. Other studies show that some deaths are those of children trapped inside a car and cannot get out. It is imperative to always be aware of where your children are in case of a preventable accident like this.
Risk Factors Related to Pediatric Heatstroke:
Age: Hot car deaths can happen to any child of any age, but most victims are very young due to not being able to speak up or communicate if something is wrong.
Location: While hot car deaths can happen in any state, the southern states that average higher temperatures are at a greater risk of causing deaths like these especially in the hot summer sun.
Temperature: This one can be tricky because even if the temperature is in the low 70s, a child trapped in a car can overheat very quickly because their bodies are not yet fully capable of regulating heat.
These injuries and deaths are preventable. Below are a few reminders as the summer months continue and temperatures rise.
Kids aren't built for heat: Children's body temperatures rise 3-5 times faster than adults.
Seconds count: The temperature of a car can climb 20 degrees in 20 minutes.
It doesn't have to be hot: Heatstroke can occur in the shade, with the windows down, and even at temperatures as low as 57 degrees.
To learn more about hot car deaths, visit the links below.