Today is National Heatstroke Preventon Day! Each year, an average of 37 children die from heatstroke after being left unattended in a hot vehicle, according to statistics compiled by researchers at San Jose State University on Noheatstroke.org. This year to date, 23 children who were left in hot cars have died. Child vehicular heatstroke is the leading non-traffic cause of vehicular death for children. The inside of a car can heat up quickly—to as high as 122 degrees F in less than 20 minutes on an especially hot day. Moreover, young children overheat three to five times faster than adults because they’re less able to regulate their body temperature.
Heatstroke by the Numbers
54% of the time, a child was forgotten by a caregiver
29% of the time, a child was playing in an unattended vehicle
17% of the time, a child was left in a vehicle by an adult
Prevent Heatstroke from Happening
To keep your child safe, take these simple steps:
Look before you lock. Always check the back seat of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away. To help you remember that your baby is in the car, put a soft toy in the front seat as a visual reminder that your child is in the back seat. Or ar secure something you need, such as a purse or backpack, in the backseat near your baby.
Never leave your child in the car, even with the windows “cracked,” or even for a few minutes.
Check in. If someone else is driving your child or there’s a change in routine; maybe you’re not usually the one to drop your child off a daycare, for example, check to make sure your child has arrived safely or have someone call you to make sure. A change in routine can lend itself to the unthinkable—driving to work with your sleeping baby in the car and forgetting that it’s your day to drop her off at daycare.
Call 911 if you see a child alone in a car.
Get in the habit of locking your car doors when you and your child leave your car so that a curious toddler can’t climb in your car when you’re not looking. Keep your car keys out of your child’s reach.
Products to Help You Remember
As a safeguard, consider products that are specifically designed to help you not forget your baby in the car. Two Babyproductsmom faves include:
- The Evenflo Advance Embrace DLX Sensor Safe infant car seat, which communicates with your car seat and sounds off if you leave your baby in the car.
- The Garmin babyCam. It alerts you to check for passengers with an onscreen message before existing your vehicle. The Garmin babyCam + Garmin navigation system comes with a Garmin Drive 50 LM GPS navigator). The Garmin babyCam is sold separately. It’s compatible with these Garmin navigators. The Garmin babyCam securely attaches to a headrest; it doesn’t require tools. The camera is powered by two AA batteries (sold separately).
Sun shades on the windows to reduce temperatures in a car can also be helpful. Sun shades won’t prevent heatstroke, but they can lower the risk excessive temperatures in your child’s car seat while you’re on the go.
The good news about heatstroke is that with a these simple steps, it’s 100% preventable.