Heatstroke Risk for Children in Vehicles

Wood County Safe Communities announced that there have been 6 fatal crashes in Wood County for the calendar year 2019, compared to 7 for the same time frame in 2018.

Outside of crashes, heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer of children in the United States.  Approximately one child every nine days will die due to vehicular heatstroke. In fact, in 2018, there were 52 preventable deaths of children in vehicles. This makes 2018 the year with the most fatalities that we have had in four years nationwide.

A child’s body temperature can rise more than five times faster than an adult, and heatstroke can occur with outside temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach a deadly heat level in just about 10 minutes.

Here are some tips for caregivers to prevent heatstroke:

  • NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended. Even for a minute.
  • Make it a habit to look in the back seat when exiting the car – EVERY TIME.
  • ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach of children.

Simple Steps for bystanders to prevent heatstroke:

  • Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents of have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
  • If there is someone with you, have one-person actively search for the parent while other(s) wait at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive and appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child – even if that means breaking the window.

Far too many children have been inadvertently left in vehicle or have gotten into a vehicle on their own. Vehicular heatstroke tragedies change the lives of parents, families, and communities forever. So, remember to look before you lock!

For More Information:

  • Lt. Angel Burgos, Ohio State Highway Patrol: 419-352-2481
  • Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator: 419-372-9353 or swiechm@bgsu.edu

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