At Home, At Play and On the Way: Preventing Hyperthermia in Our Children

Did You Know

You might be surprised to hear that a child can die from heat stroke on a 72-degree day. There’s a medical reason why this happens to children – their bodies aren’t the same as adults. A child’s body can heat up five times faster than an adult’s.

Now think of how your car usually feels warmer inside than out. Did you know that even on a mild day, the temperature inside a car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes? On an 80-degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly reach 100 degrees in the time it takes to run into the store for an errand. Heat stroke happens when the body cannot cool itself fast enough and the core temperature rises to dangerous levels.

What You Can Do

“Couldn’t happen to me,” you say? Of course, that’s what every parent says, including those who experience it at some later date.

It could happen to to you. But these deaths are preventable – not inevitable. Take a moment to learn how to keep your kids safe with simple prevention tips.

The Numbers

Since 1998, more than 550 children across the U.S. have died from hyperthermia, when unattended in a vehicle. Sadly, more than half of these reported heat stroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot their child was in the car or truck. Other heat stroke fatalities occurred when a child was playing in an unattended vehicle and became trapped, or when a child was intentionally left unattended by an adult “for just a few minutes.” 

Latest Incidents

Read news stories about recent incidents provided by Jan Null, CCM Department of Geosciences, SFSU

Safety Tips

Since 1998, more than 500 children across the U.S. have died as a result of hyperthermia (also known as heat stroke). For every child who dies after being left alone in a hot car, hundreds more are near misses – those rescued before a fatality. Together we can reduce the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.

Safety TipTop Tips for Preventing Hyperthermia


Remember ACT

  • Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by:
    • Never leaving your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
    • Consistently locking unattended vehicle doors and trunks.
  • Create reminders and habits that give you and your child’s caregiver a safety net:
    • Establish a peace-of-mind plan. When you drop off your child, make a habit of calling or texting all other caregivers, so all of you know where your child is at all times.
    • Place a purse, briefcase, gym bag, cell phone or an item that is needed at your next stop in a back seat.
    • Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
  • Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle:
    • Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide – they are trained to determine if a child is in danger.  



For Safety Tips for Children of All Ages, Click on the Link Below:


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