NoHeatstroke.org

Preventing Heatstroke

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.

Children dying in hot cars: a tragedy that can be prevented 

When a child dies of heatstroke after a parent or caretaker unknowingly leaves the child in a car: How does it happen and is it a crime?

  • Traffic Safety Marketing – Heatstroke Campaign Assets – “Park. Look. Lock.”
  • Tips and downloadable resources: safekids.org/heatstroke
  • Remember to ACT
    • Avoid heatstroke.
    • Create reminders.
    • Take action.
  • Campaign materials
    • Videos, Rapid Response Toolkit and Badge of Courage Award
    • Tip Sheets, Talking Points, Sample Press Releases
    • Infographics, Social Media Guide, Family Advocate Stories
    • Resources for Child Care Providers and First Responders
  • Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars: healthychildren.org
    • Facts about Hot Cars & Keeping Kids Safe
    • Know the Laws in Your State
    • Take Action if You See a Child Alone in a Car
      • What to do if the child is not responsive or in pain
      • What to do if the child is responsive
    • Things You Can Do to Prevent the Unthinkable
  • Protecting Children from Extreme Heat: Information for Parents
    • Prevention tips
    • Potential Health Effects of Extreme Heat
    • When to Call Your Pediatrician