Summer Temperatures May See Rise in Wrongful Deaths Caused by Children Left in Hot CarsTrusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. August 05, 2013
As summer begins, we must remember the importance of keeping children safe from heat stroke.
All individuals can experience heat stroke if they remain in a hot environment for too long. However, unattended vehicles present a particularly dangerous situation for kids.
How does the age of the child play a role in vehicular heat stroke?
Obviously, children who are older are more apt to exit a car if they begin to feel heat stroke symptoms. The following statistics from San Francisco State University show the numbers of children killed due to vehicular heat stroke from the ages of less than 1 to 5 years old during the years from 1998 to 2012:
- 31 percent: Children less than 1-year-old
- 22 percent: 1-year old children
- 20 percent: 2-year old children
- 14 percent: 3-year old children
- 6 percent: 4-year old children
- 3 percent: 5-year olds
How quickly can a vehicle heat up?
Temperatures inside a car can reach over 125 degrees Fahrenheit in around 20 minutes when summertime temperatures are present. After 40 minutes, the inside of a vehicle can reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Symptoms of heat stroke
As a parent or caregiver, knowing the signs of heat stroke is imperative. Below are symptoms of heat exhaustion, which happens before heat stroke:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Dark urine
- Damp skin
Symptoms of full-blown heat stroke include:
- Confusion or irrational behavior
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid shallow breathing
- Weakened pulse
- Fever in excess of 104 degrees
What to do if heat stroke or heat exhaustion is suspected:
Immediate action is required to counteract heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Seeking medical help is crucial. Other tips include raising the person’s feet, getting them in a cool environment or applying wet cloths or cool water to lower their body temperature.