Protecting Your Children from Heatstroke


Hot weather poses danger for children in cars

Every summer, tragic and preventable deaths happen when children are left alone in a hot car. The inside of a car can reach dangerous temperatures quickly. Children are particularly vulnerable to high temperatures because their small bodies heat up three to five time faster than an adult’s. On average, 37 children die each year from being left in an unattended vehicle according to Safe Kids Austin led by Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.

“The most common reason a child is left in a hot car is because a parent or caregiver forgets about the child in the backseat, often due to a particularly rushed morning or a change in their normal routine,” said Carlee McConnell prevention coordinator at Dell Children’s.

Experts recommended parents create reminders or leave something they’ll need at their destination, like a cell phone, in the backseat to prevent a child from being left behind.

Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT:

A: Avoid heatstroke related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute.

C: Create reminders. Keep a stuffed animal or other 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 and secure your phone, briefcase or purse in the backseat when traveling with your child.

T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

Be able to identify heat stroke signs

Heat stroke can happen when body temperature passes 104 ° causing symptoms such as:

    • Red, hot and/or dry skin
    • Confusion
    • Fainting
    • Dizziness
    • Uncontrollable shaking
    • High body temperature but reported cold feeling

For more information about preventing heatstroke in children go to Safe Kids Austin, led by Dell Children’s.