Prevent Heatstroke: Never Leave a Child in a Vehicle Unattended


The Southeast Utah Health Department (SEUHD) recently shared important information reminding parents, caregivers and others in the community of the danger of heatstroke.

Though warm temperatures increase the risk, heatstroke does not only occur on hot days. Children are still at risk even during colder days due to how quickly a vehicle heats up.

A car is able to heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes and cracking a window is not as helpful as believed. Young children are particularly in danger, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, there is a child that passes away from heatstroke in a vehicle every 10 days. Sadly, in more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot that the child was in the vehicle.

The number of deaths from heatstroke can be reduced or prevented if one remembers how to Avoid, Create and Take Action (ACT). First, avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by ensuring that a child is never left alone in a car, not even for a single minute.

Keeping a vehicle locked while not inside will also prevent children from climbing in on their own. Creating reminders, such as keeping a stuffed animal or other momento in a child’s carseat while empty and moving it to the front seat when occupied, will act as a visual reminder that the child is in the seat. Also, placing a phone or purse in the backset while traveling may act as a reminder.

If a child is noticed in a car alone, taking action by calling 911 is prudent. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to situations such as those.

Learning more about topics such as car seat safety, driveway safety and preparing teens for driving are tools in protecting children from heatstroke and other areas of safety in and around vehicles.

scroll to top