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Hot Weather & Vehicles Can be Deadly
last updated:
Mon, 7/20/2009 10:30 AM

Hot Weather and Vehicles Can be a Deadly Combination for Kids

As temperatures begin to heat up, children are at a serious risk for heat stroke, also called hyperthermia, when left alone even for a few minutes in a closed vehicle. In 2008, at least 42 children across the United States died from heat stroke caused by being left or trapped in a vehicle. Safe Kids Mid-South wants to share these tips with you:

The Facts about Heat Stroke and Kids

  • Heat is much more dangerous to children than it is to adults.
  • When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s core body temperature may increase three to five times faster than that of an adult, which could cause permanent injury or even death.
  • Heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A core body temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit is considered lethal.

What Happens in a Hot Vehicle?

  • Even with relatively cool temperatures outside—70 degrees—the inside of a car can reach a dangerous temperature in just minutes.
  • The temperature inside of a vehicle can rise 19 degrees above the outside temperature in just 10 minutes.
  • After an hour, the temperature inside and outside of a vehicle can differ by 45 degrees or more – even if the window is left open a crack.

How to Keep Kids Safer

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.
  • Always lock a vehicle’s doors and trunk – especially at home. Keep keys and remote entry devices out of children’s reach.
  • Place something that you’ll need at your next stop – such as a purse, a lunch, gym bag or briefcase – on the floor of the backseat where the child is sitting. This simple act could help prevent you from accidentally forgetting a child.
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Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center is a leading children's hospital in the Mid South, providing pediatric care to children from 95 counties in six states.
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