Children Die In Hot Cars- How Does This Happen?

Children Die In Hot Cars- How Does This Happen?
2018 set a record with 53 children dead in the US after being left in a hot vehicle, closely followed in 2019 with 52 deaths. The number of pets who die this way is even higher, though many go unreported.
You may wonder exactly how this happens…
Many people don’t realize that even on mild or cloudy days, temperatures inside vehicles can reach life-threatening levels quickly. Contrary to what you’d think, the bulk of the temperature rise happens within the first few minutes, and cracking the windows doesn’t help.
Young children and pets are most susceptible to heat illness because their bodies don’t regulate temperature as efficiently as adults. A child’s temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s!
How Does This Happen?
There are three main circumstances for accidental child deaths in hot cars, according to the National Safety Council:
〰️Forgetting a child in a vehicle (53.8%)
〰️The child gaining access to the vehicle (26.3%)
〰️Knowingly leaving a child in the vehicle (18.6%)
Educate yourself! The NSC offers a free online course about the danger of vehicular heatstroke in children, the circumstances that have led to children dying, and how to prevent these tragedies. One child is too many.
Pie Chart: Circumstances resulting in pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths (1998-2018). Source:

Think you could never forget your child in the car? Before you judge, know that it happens to even the most loving, attentive parents, and there is science behind it. According to David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, who focuses on cognitive neuroscience, including the neurobiology of “Forgotten Baby Syndrome,” the devastating culprit is often the power of human habit and memory systems. Read more here.
A survey of 1000 parents in 2014 reported that approximately 25% of all parents with children under 3 reported that at some time during a drive they had forgotten that their child was in the car with them. And those are just the ones who were willing to admit it. 

3 Ways Deaths And Injury Can Be Prevented:
1) Stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Create reminders by putting something on the backseat of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse, cell phone, or even a shoe, that will force you to look in the backseat before leaving the vehicle. **This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.** 
2) Keep car doors locked and keys put up so children cannot gain access to a vehicle on their own, and teach them that cars are not play areas.
3) Remember that there is no safe amount of time to leave a child in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand.

***The information provided on our website is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.***