Believe it or not, routines and distractions have caused people to mistakenly leave children behind in cars. There are also people who thought their child would be okay "for just a few minutes." Leaving a child alone in a vehicle for any amount of time can have fatal consequences.
Studies show that a vehicle can rapidly reach fatal temperatures in just minutes. A child's body temperature warms at a rate of 3 to 5 times faster than an adults because their thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult's.
FRIGHTENING FACT: 2010 was the deadliest year ever for children left in vehicles…TEXAS led in the number of deaths.
Between 1998-2010, more than 494 hyperthermia deaths have been reported as a result of a child being left in a hot vehicle.
- Each year, an average of 36 children die from hyperthermia after being left unattended in a vehicle. Last year was the highest number of heat related vehicular deaths (49) since records have been kept in 1998.
- Children that have died from vehicular heat stroke in the United States (1998-2010) have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years with more than have of the deaths being under 2 years.
- A child’s body does not have the same internal temperature control as an adult’s, and can warm three times to five times faster. Heatstroke occurs when the body core temperature reaches 104 degrees F, and a body core temperature of 107 degrees F is usually fatal.
- Within 10 minutes of being closed, in the daytime, the inside temperature of a vehicle will be almost 20 degrees hotter than the outside temperature, after 30 minutes the vehicle’s temperature will be 34 degrees hotter.
- Never leave your child alone in a car...not even for a minute!
- When arriving at your destination, always check the back seat.
- Place your purse, briefcase, or cell phone in the back seat so that you will be triggered to look there before leaving your vehicle.
- Always lock your car and store keys out of a child's reach.
- Place one of your child's toys or diaper bag in the front seat as a reminder that they are with you.
- Have caregivers call you at a set time if you have not dropped off your child. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off children.
- Teach children to never play in, on or around cars.
- Call 9-1-1 if you ever see a child left alone in a car.