Vehicular Heatstroke Statistics in Children

Georgia summers can always be counted on for at least one thing: bringing the heat. Historically, July is boasts higher temperatures than any other month of the year. And while there are countless perks to the Georgia heat, there are dangers that come with temperatures 90 degrees and above.

In recent years, the Metro-Atlanta area has experienced tragedies around vehicular heat stroke. The most prominent, perhaps, are those involving infants and children. Perhaps surprising is the fact that the leading cause of vehicle-related deaths in children, not involving a crash, is that of heatstroke. Every ten days a child is lost from a vehicular heatstroke on average. Thus far in 2016 there have been 16 deaths in the U.S. alone.

While many of us may feel there’s no excuse for leaving a child in a hot vehicle, there are countless stories of parents making honest mistakes that lead to devastating consequences. Children can sometimes remain so quiet or sleep so peacefully that it is easy to forget they are in the back seat. Our daily routines changing can lead to forgetfulness on the part of dropping or picking a child up from day care. Sometimes parents are even tempted to run into a gas station while their child is asleep in the car - it’s much easier than unbuckling and buckling them back in. Unfortunately, the summer heat doesn’t allow for that. Children should never be left alone in a car, not even for a minute. Here’s why:

  • The inside temperature of a vehicle heats extremely quickly – reaching 125 degrees in a matter of minutes.
  • The first 10 minutes inside a vehicle, even with the windows cracked, accounts for 80% of the temperature increase.
  • Infants and children have died in vehicles whose temperatures were as low as 60 degrees.
  • Children’s bodies are much smaller than adults’ – so their bodies overhead 3-5 times quicker and they cannot cool as quickly.

For more information on child vehicular heatstroke deaths, kidsandcars.org created the helpful infographic below. Feel free to share with friends and loved ones on social media. The more awareness that we can bring to the little-known dangers of vehicular heatstroke, the more lives we can save together.