Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles

It only takes 10 minutes for a car to reach deadly temperatures on an 80 degree day, and even less time for heatstroke to begin. Never leave children in a vehicle unattended. CSN created this new infographic on vehicular heatstroke filled with information and safety tips.

BY THE NUMBERS:

10: the minutes it takes for a car to reach deadly temperatures on an 80 degree day
38: the average number of children who die from vehicular heatstroke in the US each year
57: the lowest known outside temperature at which heatstroke can occur
(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2012)

BY CIRCUMSTANCE:

27% playing
73% left
54% forgotten in vehicle
27% intentionally left in vehicle
18% unclear

Boys accounted for 3 in 5 left deaths and 3 in 4 playing deaths
(Guard & Gallagher, 2005)

BY AGE:
34% <1 year
23% 1 year
23% 2 years
15% 3 years
5% ≥4 years

80% of these deaths were children ages 2 and under

Children ages:
≤2 were more likely to have been left by a caregiver
≥3 were more likely to have been playing in the car
(Guard & Gallagher, 2005)

TIPS:

Never leave children in a vehicle unattended, even with the windows cracked, even “for a minute”
Always check the backseat when exiting the vehicle (put your phone or your purse in the backseat to create a reminder system)
Always keep vehicle doors and trunks locked and keys out of reach
Make an agreement with your childcare provider to always call you when your child is absent
Call 911 if you see a child alone in a vehicle
(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2012)

For NHTSA’s Look Before You Lock Campaign: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/InandAroundtheCar/heatstroke.htm​ (link is external)

SOURCES:

Guard, A., & Gallagher, S. S. (2005). Heat related deaths to young children in parked cars: an analysis of 171 fatalities in the United States, 1995-2002. Injury prevention journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, 11, 33–37. doi:10.1136/ip.2003.004044

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2012). Children left in cars and heatstroke. Retrieved from http://www.safercar.gov/parents/assests/english/Heatstroke_Fact_Sheet.pdf

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