700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Heat Stroke: The Danger of Kids in Hot Cars

Aug 12, 2022
cars

During the summer, keeping kids from overheating is a top priority. It’s up to parents and caregivers to make sure that young toddlers and infants are kept cool, hydrated, and out of the heat.

One of the most dangerous places for children to be left in the heat is the car. Within minutes, cars can heat up to deadly temperatures. Both the number of hot car deaths and hot summer days have risen within the last couple years, making this an important issue for every family.

These deaths aren’t only happening in the summer. Cars can act like ovens in temperatures as low as 57 degrees, trapping heat and quickly creating dangerous situations. Whether you’re running errands with children in tow, or you’ve finally gotten your little one to fall asleep in the backseat, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers to keep kids safer by making sure they aren't left in cars, no matter the circumstance.

Prevent these tragic mistakes by keeping the following tips in mind:

Parents & Caregivers:

  • “Look before you lock”: Put a personal item like a briefcase, wallet, or purse by the child’s car seat as a reminder to check the back seats before you get out of the vehicle.
  • Never leave kids in cars, even with windows open or air conditioning running. Cars heat up quickly and can reach deadly temperatures within minutes.

Everyone:

  • Keep vehicles locked. Many of these deaths happen when children get into unlocked cars, so keep all children safer by locking every vehicle, every time.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has more resources about keeping children safe from heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

Featured Expert

Laura Dattner, MA
Center for Injury Research and Policy

Laura Dattner is a research writer in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. With both a health communications and public health background, she works to translate pediatric injury research into meaningful, accurate messages which motivate the public to make positive behavior changes.

Katie Donovan
Center for Injury Research and Policy

Katie Donovan is a program coordinator on the Translational Research team at the Center for Injury Research and Policy.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.