In 2019, more than 50 children died of heatstroke because they were left or became trapped in a hot car. It’s important for everyone to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke and that all hot car deaths are preventable. We — as parents, caregivers and bystanders — play a role in helping to make sure another death doesn’t happen.
How Can A Child Be Unknowingly Left?
While there are three primary circumstances that typically lead to pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH) deaths, a little more than half of all PVH deaths over the past 20 years have resulted from children who were unknowingly left in the vehicle. It is commonly reported that in the course of a drive, a parent or caretaker loses awareness of the presence of a child in the back seat of the car. Upon arriving at the destination, the driver exits the car and unknowingly leaves the child in the car. This incomprehensible lapse of memory exposes forgotten children to hazards, including death from heatstroke. More than 400 children in the past 20 years have suffered from heatstroke after being unknowingly forgotten in vehicles. How can loving and attentive parents, with no evidence of substance abuse or an organic brain disorder, have a catastrophic lapse of memory that places a child’s welfare in jeopardy? The articles below by Dr. David Diamond address this question.