According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle related deaths for children under 14. For the week of August 1 -7, eight children died from heatstroke while left in hot vehicles. According to the NHTSA, this is believed to be the most heat related deaths ever in a single week. In 2012, twenty-three children have died of hyperthermia while left in a hot vehicle. Since 1998, 550 children died when they were left unattended in hot cars.
Infants and children are at a greater risk of heat related deaths because their bodies heat up to three to five times faster than those of adults. Children have died in a wide range of outdoor temperatures, from 67 degrees up to 113 degrees. Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids worldwide emphasizes “Never leave your child alone, unattended, not even for a minute.” As the summer temperatures rise toward the 90 and 100 degree mark this week, it is important to take precautions to prevent heat related deaths. Heat illness is preventable, and to prevent a tragedy, children should never be left in a hot car unattended.