Where’s baby? Look before you lock.

Never leave a child alone in a car.

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Every year children die of heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, while unattended in vehicles. One life lost is too many, and the number of “near misses” or children rescued before fatality is significantly higher.

Young children are particularly at risk because their bodies can heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults.

The auto industry is spreading the message on the dangers of heatstroke and working to educate parents and caregivers about the risks of leaving children unattended in a vehicle — even for just a few moments.

Together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Safe Kids Worldwide, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers offers the following information and tips to help prevent these tragedies from happening.

Car

Heatstroke

Why does this happen?

Once a vehicle is parked, and its windows are closed or even left cracked open, temperatures can skyrocket. Air conditioning does little to prevent the temperature from rising once the car is turned off. In mere minutes the car’s interior temperature reaches that of the outside air. Especially if you live in parts of the country with mild winters, then heatstroke can happen any time of year.

How Your Vehicle Heats Up

  • Solar Radiation passes through windows heating the interior.
  • Heat Convection contributes to the rise in temperature.
  • Longwave Radiation is generated from heated objects. It is trapped inside the vehicle heating the air.
Car

Why are children at risk?

  • Their small bodies absorb heat more quickly.
  • Their perspiration doesn’t cool them as well as it does adults.
  • They can’t change their environment by removing clothing or getting out of the vehicle.

What are the stages of heat illness?

Heat Stress
Heat stress is a mild physical discomfort and physiologic strain.

Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is caused by dehydration when a child’s temperature reaches 104 degrees. It leads to intense thirst, weakness, discomfort, anxiety, dizziness, fainting, and headache.

Heatstroke
Heatstroke, or hyperthermia, is a life-threatening condition where the child’s temperature rises to 104 degrees, causing delirium, convulsions, coma, and death.

Leaving windows open doesn’t prevent a child from overheating

  • Outside Temp 90°
  • Closed Window 90°
  • Cracked Window 90°
  • Elapsed Time 0m

At 104°
heatstroke starts
within a child’s body
car

*Above interactive is for illustrative purpose. Actual numbers may vary.
See Data

Take them with you. Every time.


 


ACT: Avoid. Create Reminders. Take Action.
Safe Kids Worldwide Prevention Tips

Avoid

Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.

Create Reminders

Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

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.

Heatstroke Prevention Resources

The following resources will provide information on heatstroke prevention. And remember, someone who sees a child in an unattended vehicle should call 911.