Overheating happens so much more quickly in children than adults. That’s why a few minutes in a hot car can be deadly. Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South, explains why and offers tips to prevent tragedy from striking.
On a hot day like today, a car’s interior can reach lethal temperatures in minutes. Every year, children die from overheating in vehicles.
According to the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences, an expert on this topic, 31 children died in 2014 due to heatstroke, and the majority of those deaths occurred during the summer.
Children are at greatest risk for heatstroke because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a body temperature reaches 104 degrees, the internal organs start to shut down. When it reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.
Safe Kids suggests these three things to protect kids from this preventable tragedy:
- A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car. Not even for a minute. And make sure your car is locked when you are not in it, so kids don’t get in by themselves.
- C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car that you’ll need at your final destination, such as a purse, briefcase or gym bag. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
- T: Take action. If your see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. Your call could save a child’s life.