OTS Vehicular Heatstroke Fact Sheet

Vehicular Heatstroke

Outside of crashes, heatstroke is the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger.

In 2017, 42 children lost their lives because they were left alone or forgotten in a hot car. Since 1998, more than 750 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke. More than half (54 percent) of these deaths were caused by a caregiver forgetting about a child, and nearly 30 percent from children finding a way to get into the vehicle.

Children are at higher risk of vehicular heatstroke because they may be too young to figure out how to get out of the car or let people know they need help. A child’s body temperature also rises three to five times faster than an adult.

picture of baby in car seat in the the car

Heatstroke Prevention

  • Never leave a child unattended in a car, even if they are asleep and don’t want to leave the car.
  • Place a purse, phone, stuffed animal or wallet next to the car seat to remind yourself a child is in the car.
  • Always lock the car and leave keys out of the reach of children.

The inside of a car can heat up 20 degrees in only 10 minutes

Signs of Heatstroke

  • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
  • No sweating
  • A strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse
  • A throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Being grouchy or acting strangely

If you see a child in a hot vehicle:

  • See if the child is okay.
  • If not, Call 911.
  • Try to find the parents.
  • Have shopping center or business use PA system.

** Heatstroke deaths are 100 percent preventable so remember to “Look Before You Lock.” **

 

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Email: ContactOTS@ots.ca.gov