And inside a parked car, the heat can be deadly: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 636 children died in hot cars between 1998 and 2014, making heatstroke the leading cause of non-crash-related fatalities for children 14 and younger.
Even with moderate temperatures, the inside of a car can heat up to over 100 degrees in minutes. With daytime temps in many parts of SoCal shooting well above 90, vehicles heat up even faster. Just last week, L.A. County Sheriffs rescued a newborn and toddler from a locked car in a parking lot in the Santa Clarita area.
Children are at a higher risk than adults of dying from heatstroke in a hot vehicle. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches around 104 degrees; death can follow in a child when that temperature reaches 107 degrees.
If you work with parents of infants or small children, raise this issue and remind them to make a habit of checking all the seats in the car before locking the door. It’s also important to keep cars locked at home so a child can’t get inside and overheat.
Here are some resources from the “Where’s Baby?” campaign that you can distribute to the families you work with:
- “Look Before You Lock” Tip Sheet (also available in Spanish here)
- Video message from ACF to Head Start facilities and Child Care providers
- Heatstroke Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers
- Kids in Hot Cars: Heatstroke Fact Sheet