Every year, children die as a direct result of being left alone in a hot vehicle. And it doesn’t have to be brutally hot outside for it to get brutally hot inside the car. The windows act like a greenhouse, trapping sunlight and heat inside with no ventilation. A car parked in direct sunlight can reach up to 131 degrees inside while the outside temperature is a tolerable 80 degrees.
Also, it’s very important to note that this isn’t a gradual, but rather a rapid increase in temperature. In warm weather, a vehicle can reach dangerous, life-threatening conditions in only about 10 minutes.
A child’s body temperature can go as high as 106 degrees Fahrenheit in that time and it’s often fatal. Specifically, these extreme conditions can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, as well as heat stroke, dehydration, and seizures among other things.
- Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.
- Never let your children play in an unattended vehicle.
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle before you get out.
- If your infant or young child travels in a rear-facing car seat or the back seat, keep a reminder for you in the front seat, for example, a stuffed animal.
- Always lock the doors and keep any keys out of reach from children.
- If you see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they appear in distress, don’t hesitate, get them out as quickly as possible, cool the child rapidly and call 911 or your local emergency number.
Symptoms of heat stroke include a strong rapid pulse, a throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and disorientation.