In 2023, 29 children have died of heatstroke in hot cars across the United States since 1998. Did you know in the span of 10 minutes a car can heat up by 20 degrees? Sadly, 10 minutes is all it takes to kill a child left alone in a hot vehicle. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than adults. A decision to run in and grab a quick coffee is not worth the risk. It is important to know that summertime is the peak season for these incidents to occur and that high body temperatures alone can cause permanent injury. However, heatstroke can occur in outdoor temperatures as low as 57 degrees.

Since 1998, 940+ children died due to vehicular heatstroke. All these deaths could have been prevented.


Know the Warning Signs

The warning signs of heatstroke vary, but may include:

  • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
  • No sweating
  • A strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse
  • A throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Being grouchy or acting strangely

It Can Happen to Anyone

In 52 percent of cases, the child was forgotten by the caregiver.

In 24 percent of cases, children got into the vehicles on their own.

In 20 percent of cases, children were knowingly left.

The children most at-risk are those under 2 years, making up 50 percent of heatstroke deaths.

Remember These 4 Things

  • NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
  • Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car.
  • ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach.
  • If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle call 9-1-1.

For more child safety tips click here.

Download A parent’s guide to protecting children in and around cars.