Prevent Heatstroke in Children in Cars

In 2016, there were 39 heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles, a 63 percent increase from 2015. Understanding how and why these tragedies happen is the key to protecting our children. In 54 percent of cases, the child was forgotten by the caregiver. In 28 percent of cases, children got into the vehicle on their own.

Follow these five tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to keep children safe from vehicular heatstroke:

  1. Look before you lock. Get into the routine of always checking the back seats of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
  2. Have a gentle reminder. Keep a stuffed animal or another memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Or place your phone, briefcase or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
  3. Do a routine check. If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely. Set a reminder on your phone to call and check in.
  4. Keep your vehicle locked and keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.
  5. Act to save a life. You should act if you see a child alone in a vehicle. Call law enforcement immediately, and free the child from the vehicle to protect that child’s life. Don’t be afraid to break a window if necessary.