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Children Are Especially Vulnerable to

Heatstroke When Left in Vehicles

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths, especially for children.  It occurs when the body can’t cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels.  It only takes a few minutes in a locked care for heatstroke to occur.  In 10 minutes the temp inside the car can rise 20 degrees.

Symptoms of heatstroke can quickly progress from flushed, dry sink and vomiting to seizures, organ failure, and death.    Heatstroke can happen at any time, anywhere, and to anyone.  In vehicles, it happens when a person, or animal, is left alone in a car and as the car warms up, so too does the person or animal inside.

Young children are especially vulnerable to heatstroke when left inside cars since their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body. When a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.   Cars can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes.  Thus, tragedies can happen faster than you think.  It’s easy to become distracted and tragedies can happen instantly.

Safe Kids Worldwide, including Golisano Children’s Hospital, asks everyone to protect kids from the preventable tragedy of heatstroke.  They want everyone to ACT:

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car.
  • Create reminders when a child is in the back seat.  Visual reminders will help you remember that a child is in the back seat.
  • Take action.  If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1 -1.

The Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition serves as a collaborative effort or partnership whose function is to facilitate partners’ work and act as a catalyst for injury prevention initiatives.  Its mission is to prevent injury, disability, and death through advocacy, education, legislation, and partnerships.

Additional information about the Injury Prevention Coalition or heatstroke, may contact Brian Raimondo at or 239-330-2240.

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