Alone in a Hot Car: No Place for a Child

Serious or fatal injuries caused solely by being trapped in a hot car happen often enough that they have their own term: vehicular hyperthermia.

Cars get much hotter inside than the outdoor temperature. In 10 minutes, a car’s heat can rise 19 degrees. So during an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a closed car can quickly exceed 100 degrees. Leaving the window open “a crack” does not help.

Children’s bodies heat up much faster than an adult’s, so they are more likely to suffer hyperthermia. For the local infant who succumbed to it Tuesday, the estimated temperature inside the car was 119 degrees.

Tragedies like this are completely preventable. Keep vehicular hyperthermia from happening by remembering to ACT:

Avoid injury and death from heatstroke by never leaving a child alone in a car–not even for “just a minute.” Be sure to loke car doors even when you’re not in it so children don’t get in on their own.

Create reminders by putting something in the back of the car next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse or cell phone you’ll need at the final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency responders want you to call–they are trained for situations like this. Calling can save a life.

Contact Safe Kids Coalition of Queens for child-safety tip sheets and posters. Led by the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the organization offers programs that provide educational material for childcare centers, hospitals, doctors’ offices and police and fire stations.

One Response to “Alone in a Hot Car: No Place for a Child”

  1. Maria C.

    Thank you for this article. It’s shocking that someone who wouldn’t leave their wallet in the car *would* leave their child alone in the back seat.

    The same guidelines apply to leaving a pet in the car too. Dogs and cats have no way to sweat and can die from overheating.


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