Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, can occur if a child is left unattended in a vehicle, whether intentionally for a quick errand or unintentionally if there is a break in routine, a parent or caregiver is distracted, or children are playing unsupervised in a vehicle. Children are particularly susceptible to heat stroke because their bodies heat up five times faster than an adult’s, so even a mild, 70-degree day can result in pediatric heat stroke.
Sadly, since 1998, there have been 626 documented child deaths due to heat stroke in motor vehicles.
Even the most responsible, well-intentioned parent can make a mistake. You can reduce the number of deaths from heat stroke by remembering to ACT.
- A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death:
- Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle.
- Lock your vehicle when not in use, even when parked in your driveway.
- C: Create reminders:
- Leave an item such as a briefcase or purse in the back seat next to your child.
- Leave a stuffed toy in your child’s safety seat when they are not in it. When in use, place the stuffed toy where you can see it, such as in the front passenger seat.
- If you have a break in routine, such as your spouse or parent dropping your child off for childcare instead of you, ask your spouse or parent to call you after your child safely arrives at childcare.
- Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not arrive for childcare as scheduled.
- T: Take action:
- Call 911 immediately if you see a child left unattended in a vehicle.
Visit the following websites for more tips, tools and information on pediatric heat stroke prevention: