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On average, 37 kids die in hot cars every year in the United States, according to San Jose State University's Jan Null.
Incidents peak between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when between two and three kids die each week. In 2017, about 1 1/4 times as many children died in hot cars (42) as all individuals who died in tornadoes across the country (35).
Null, a certified consulting meteorologist, has been tracking U.S. child vehicular heatstroke deaths since 1998. His research indicates more than half of kids die after a parent or guardian forgets them in a vehicle. This can happen to anyone at any time.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, parents often are stressed. Often, tragedies occur when schedules and routines are broken.
Null analyzes media reports and details the circumstances surrounding each case through
NoHeatstroke.org, a program supported by the National Safety Council. In cases of heatstroke deaths, his findings show:
In April 2017, a
1-year-old boy died after being left in a pickup truck. At that time, the temperature in Vestavia, AL, was just 68 degrees. What many don't know is cars and trucks heat up rapidly even on milder days and no matter the time of year.
The temperature inside a vehicle can rise by nearly 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Heatstroke occurs when a person's core body temperature rises to 104 degrees, according to research from Mayo Clinic. A temperature of 107 degrees could result in irreversible organ damage or even death.
Young children are at risk because their
bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult's, according to a journal report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
To prevent tragedies, Safe Kids Worldwide produced an
ACT Now Toolkit that includes a printable tip sheet:
Everything you need to know to keep your kids safe from heatstroke. Here are five recommendations:
NSC backs efforts to
use technology to prevent children from being forgotten in vehicles. Without offering an endorsement of any vehicle or product, NSC provides the following information to help parents and guardians protect their most precious cargo:
Hold On to Dear Life is a campaign of Primary Children's Hospital.
Learn about one father's experience and what he is doing to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving kids in hot cars. Then, test yourself. Take the SaferCar.gov quiz:
How Much Do You Know About Preventing Child Heatstroke?