On average, 37 children die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles. Even the best of parents or caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car; and the end result can be injury or even death.
Pulitzer Prize winning article by Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post
Editorial published on Time.com
by Dr. David Diamond
Far too many children have been inadvertently left in vehicles or have gotten into a vehicle on their own. Vehicular heatstroke tragedies change the lives of parents, families, and communities forever. The stories at the links below are about children whose lives were lost, and near misses, after becoming trapped inside of a hot vehicle.
Below is a summary of the information KidsAndCars.org has been gathering for over a decade.
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2017: 34 (view US map)
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2016: 39
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2015: 25
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2014: 32
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2013: 44
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2012: 35
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2011: 33
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths for 2010: 49
- Child vehicular heatstroke deaths 1990- 2016: 793
- Average #of deaths per year since 1998: 37 (one every 9 days)
- Highest # of fatalities for a one-year time period – 2010: 49
Learn simple tips on how to keep your children safe in and around vehicles.
Charts, Statistics, Graphics
Below are KidsAndCars.org charts and graphs which can be downloaded for free and are excellent education materials. We encourage you to share, print, copy, distribute, or enlarge them; but we ask that no changes be made.
Click on an image below to open a full PDF file of the chart.. Please note, the PDF files are large and may take some time to open in your browser.
Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Videos
Heighten awareness about the dangers children face in and around motor vehicles with KidsAndCars.org’s Public Service Announcements. Please encourage TV stations, hospital, doctor offices, public health offices, parenting classes, etc., to share this life-saving information.
Below are studies specific to vehicular heatstroke injuries and deaths. There have been several studies published about vehicular heatstroke but there is still much to be learned.
- Functional Assessment of Unattended Child Reminder Systems (DOT HS 812 187) July 2015
- Evaluating infant core temperature response in a hot car using a heat balance model; Forensic Science Medicine and Pathology, October, 2014
- Threat of paediatric hyperthermia in an enclosed vehicle: a year-round study;
- Threat of paediatric hyperthermia in an enclosed vehicle: a year-round study, Injury Prevention, November, 2013
- Evaluating infant core temperature response in a hot car using a heat balance model, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT HS 811 632), July 2012
- Hyperthermia deaths among children in parked vehicles: an analysis of 231 fatalities in the United States, 1999–2007 (2010)
- Crime and Parenthood: The Uneasy Case for Prosecuting Negligent Parents (2006)
- Quantifying the heat-related hazard for children in motor vehicles ,Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (2010)
- Not in Traffic Surveillance-2007 Highlights, January 2009, DOT HS 811 085
- Heat Stress From Enclosed Vehicles: Moderate Ambient Temperatures Cause Significant Temperature Rise in Enclosed Vehicles, McLaren, Null, Quinn, Pediatrics 2005; 116;109-112
- Heat-Related Mortality – Arizona, 1993-2002, and United States, 1979-2002
- Heat related deaths to young children in parked cars: an analysis of 171 fatalities in the United States, 1995–2002, Injury Prevention 2005; 11:33-37; doi:10.1136/ip.2003.004044
- Heat-Related Deaths — Los Angeles County, California, 1999-2000, and United States, 1979—1998, MMWR Weekly, July 27, 2001 / 50 (29); 623-626
- Environmental Hyperthermic Infant and Early Childhood Death: circumstances, pathologic changes, and manor of death. Henry F. Kraus MD, Julie M. Nadeau B.A., Richard I. Fukumoto M.D., Brian D. Blackbourne, M.D., and Roger W. Byard, M.D.
- Heat-Related Illnesses and Deaths – Missouri, 1998, and United States, 1979-1996, MMWR, 1999; 48: 469-473, DC Rackers
- Heat-related mortality — United States. MMWR, June 1998; 47:473-6, CDC.
- Heat waves and hot environments. Noji EK, ed. The public health consequences of disaster. New York, New York, Oxford Univerity Press, 1997: 245-69, Kilbourne EM.
- Heat Related Deaths-Dallas, Wichita and Cooke Counties, Texas, and the United States, 1996, MMWR, June 13, 1997/46(23); 528-531
KidsAndCars.org believes the solution to these preventable tragedies is a combination of education and technology. KidsAndCars.org would like all vehicles to come equipped with a system that would alert a driver if a child has been left in the vehicle. The HOT CARS Act has been recently introduced and would require technology in call vehicles to prevent heatstroke tragedies – learn more here.