Rising Temperatures Renew Reminders to Protect Kids from Vehicle-Related Heat Dangers

Red SUV next to thermometer showing outside temperature and interior car temperature

Hot summer days have contributed to two child deaths so far this year in the United States as a result of heatstroke, which can happen when kids are unattended in cars. Valley Children’s, the lead agency for Safe Kids Central California, a nonprofit focused on injury prevention education, reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle, and if you see a child alone in a car, call 911.

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.

"A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Kristina Pasma, RN, a trauma nurse liaison at Valley Children's Healthcare and Safe Kids Central California Coalition Coordinator. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why we ask everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.

  • A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own. 
  • C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place and secure your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
  • T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, please visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.


About Safe Kids Central California

As the lead agency for Safe Kids Central California, Valley Children's Healthcare is proud to be a leader in supporting pediatric injury prevention efforts throughout Central California and is committed to providing resources towards these efforts. Safe Kids Central California is a coalition of 30 agencies made up of healthcare, law enforcement, social services, education, media, and more who are dedicated to preventing unintentional injury in children. Unintentional injury is the number one killer of children across the United States and around the world. Safe Kids Central California is one of 400 Coalitions who are part of Safe Kids Worldwide, an extensive network of coalitions and partners in the United States and around the world to reduce injuries from motor vehicle, sports, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings, and more.

For information on Valley Children’s Injury Prevention or Safe Kids Central California, contact the Trauma program at (559) 353-6204.

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