When the temperatures are in the 90s, it's easy to recognize that the temperature inside your car can quickly rise. But cars can get dangerously hot, even when you don't feel it's "hot" outside.
So far this year, 16 children have died from heatstroke while being left inside a vehicle, three of them in the last week. Four of those deaths occurred when the outside temperature was only in the 60s or 70s.
Since 1990, there have been roughly 900 children who died of heatstroke after being trapped in a hot car. 2018 saw a record high of 52 such instances, one death per week. Sadly, in more than half of these cases, the parents simply forgot they had left their child in the car.
According to Franciscan Health car seat specialist Sharilyn Wagner, RN, in just 10 minutes, a car can heat up 19 degrees. After 30 minutes, the temperature inside the car could increase to as much as 34 degrees higher than the temperatures outside, so in less than 30 minutes, your child or pet could die.
A Stanford study found 80 percent of the temperature rise in a vehicle occurred within the first half-hour - regardless of outside temperature.
The heat is effectively trapped by the automotive glass. Cracking the window does not decrease the maximum cabin temperature nor does it help to slow the heating process. Add in the fact that a child's body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult, and we end up with an extremely high chance that leaving your child in your car leads to a fatality.
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A child's body is more succeptible to heat than an adult's. Wagner gave us the following tips to help you prevent the tragedy of heatstroke in vehicles:
Hopefully, by knowing the risks and following this advice, parents and caregivers can help prevent these tragic situations from occurring.
By Vivek Bhamidipati