Hot Weather and Vehicles can be a Deadly Combination for Kids

Posted June 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm     Category: News ReleasePublic Health

Heatstroke deaths are preventable with a few important tips

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC — In light of recent heat stroke related deaths, Safe Kids Cape Fear is working to increase awareness and urge caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle. With the goal of having no more children die from heat stroke by being left in cars, Safe Kids Cape Fear reminds parents and caregivers to always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.

Since 1998, some 645 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when unattended in vehicles that became too hot for them to survive. “A child’s core body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s and a car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. This is a deadly combination and cracking a window doesn’t help.” says Julia Histed, Safe Kids Cape Fear coordinator. “The overall goal of this campaign is to make sure no more children will die in 2015 because they were unattended in a vehicle. We want parents and caregivers to take precautions so that this tragedy does not happen to them.”

More than 50 percent of the children who died from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle. Thirty percent of kids who died from hyperthermia were left unattended by an adult or gained entry into an unlocked vehicle and became trapped and overcome by heat.

In 2013, 44 children died from heatstroke. In 2014, 30 children died, the second lowest total of heatstroke deaths since 1998. Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. And there are a staggering number of near misses. It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car. Drivers must keep car doors locked and keys out of reach from young children.

Safe Kids Cape Fear urges all adults who transport children to take the following steps:

  • Call 911 if they see a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Never leave children alone in a car – even for 1 minute.
  • Lock all vehicles at all times. This prevents curious children from gaining access to a parked car and becoming unable to exit.
  • Check cars and trunks first if a child goes missing.
  • Keep keys and remote entry key fobs out of children’s reach.
  • Set your computer calendar or cell phone with a reminder asking you, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
  • Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of the child in a back seat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child.
  • Have a plan with your child care provider to call if your child does not arrive when expected.

For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths, please visit and Remember to NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE in a car.


Release Contact:

Joshua Swift
Deputy Health Director
(910) 798-6592

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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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