Tip of the Week: Child Vehicular Heat Stroke

Vehicular heat stroke is largely misunderstood by the general public. A majority of parents are misinformed and would like to believe that they could never “forget” their child in a vehicle. The most dangerous mistake a parent or caregiver can make is to think leaving a child alone in a vehicle could never happen to them or their family.

In well over 50% of these cases, the person responsible for the child’s death unknowinglyleft them in the vehicle. In most situations this happens to the most loving, caring and protective parents. It has happened to a teacher, dentist, social worker, police officer, nurse, clergyman, soldier, and even a rocket scientist. It can happen to anyone…

The Greenhouse Effect in Vehicles

  • The inside of a vehicle heats up VERY quickly! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in minutes.
  • Cracking the windows does not help slow the heating process OR decrease the maximum temperature
  • 80% of the increase in temperature happens in the first 10 minutes
  • Children have died from heatstroke in cars in temps as low as 60 degrees.

Contributing Factors

  • A child’s body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult body.
  • Change in normal daily routine, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, distractions, hormone changes, worry… symptoms that ALL new parents experience!
  • Rear-facing car seats look the same whether there is a baby in it or not.
  • Children, especially babies, often fall asleep in their rear-facing child safety seats; becoming quiet, unobtrusive little passengers.

According to the Texas Heatstroke Task Force, there have been three child vehicular heatstroke deaths so far in 2017. These tragedies can be avoided by following the simple steps of the SAFE Kids ACT prevention message:


A – Avoid heatstroke-related injury by never leaving your child alone in a car. Always lock your doors and trunks – even in your driveway or garage. If a child goes missing, check the pool first, then check the cars, including trunks.

C – Create reminders. Place something you’ll need at your next stop – like a purse, briefcase or cell phone – next to the child safety seat.

T – Take Action. If you see a child alone in a car, take action. Call 911.

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