Searing Temperatures Renew Reminders to Avoid Car-Related Heat Dangers

Searing Temperatures Renew Reminders to Avoid Car-Related Heat Dangers

(Madera, Calif.) – Summertime has arrived in sunny California, and with it, scorching temperatures. For kids, one of the most dangerous places to be in the summertime is a parked or locked vehicle.

According to Safe Kids, a national nonprofit focused on injury prevention education, a child dies every 10 days from heatstroke in a vehicle, and in more than half of those cases, a caregiver forgot or did not realize that the child was in the car.

“Temperatures in a parked vehicle can be up to 40 degrees hotter than the temperature outside,” says Carlos Flores, RN, Valley Children’s trauma coordinator. “So even on a seemingly pleasant 80-degree day, the temperature in a car can be 120 degrees.”

Because the body temperature of a child rises about five times faster than it does in an adult, children are much more susceptible to serious injury due to heat, and for kids, heat-related illnesses can be extremely serious, sometimes even deadly.

“Roughly about 35-40 kids each year die from hyperthermic injury as a result of being left in a parked vehicle or by accidentally locking themselves in a car while playing,” says Flores.

To Prevent Tragedy, Remember to A.C.T.

Flores encourages all adults to remember the Safe Kids “A.C.T.” steps:

  • A = Avoid heatstroke by never leaving a child alone in a car, even for a minute. Keep the vehicle locked when not inside so kids don’t get in there on their own.
  • C = Create reminders by leaving something that reminds you of the child in the front seat (toy, doll, stuffed animal) and something you need in the backseat (cellphone, purse, briefcase). You can also create a reminder on your phone or computer.
  • T = Take action. Get kids who are locked in cars out as soon as possible. If you can’t do so quickly, call 911. Call 911 if you see a child alone in a car.

Additionally, Flores says it’s important to make sure you lock your vehicle when you are away from it, and teach kids that trunks are for transporting cargo and are not safe places to play. If your child is missing, immediately check vehicles and trunks.

“We can all play a part in preventing heat-related illnesses and death,” Flores says. “By remembering three simple steps, we can reduce the number of these tragedies.”


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