On average, 38 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.
Scroll down for child stories, fact sheets, stats, safety tips, charts, graphics, video PSAs, studies, etc.
Child Vehicular Heatstroke Deaths by Year
(location-specific and detailed information available upon request)
|2018||48* (view detailed list)|
Average #of deaths per year: 38 (one every 9 days)
Highest # of fatalities for a one-year time period – 2010: 49
* waiting on autopsies to confirm 2 possible deaths near Kearney, MO on 7/4/2018
Pulitzer Prize winning article by Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post
Editorial published on Time.com
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.
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.
Social Media Posts
Hashtags: #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- Technology exists to prevent hot car deaths, HOT CARS Act! #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- A simple reminder in cars could prevent hot car deaths #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- See a child alone in a car? Get involved! Call 911 ASAP. #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- The difference between life or death is minutes in a hot car. #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- Protecting children is everyone’s business. Get involved. Call 911. Save a life. #heatstrokekills
- Be prepared to save a baby in a hot car with a resqme tool… get it today at /resqme-tool/ #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- Always check the back seat for baby! #lookbeforeyoulock #heatstrokekills
- Ask childcare to call if baby doesn’t show up as planned! #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- Always keep cars locked & keys out of reach of children. If a child is missing – check in all cars! #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock
- A car is not a babysitter. NEVER leave a child or animal alone inside a vehicle, not even for a minute! #lookbeforeyoulock #heatstrokekills
Click here for more info
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.
- Evaluating the impact of solar radiation on pediatric heat balance within enclosed, hot vehicles – 5/23/2018
- New Study Released on Nontraffic Injuries and Fatalities in Young Children – 9/27/2017
- Children forgotten in hot cars: a mental models approach for improving public health messaging – 8/9/2017
- 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.
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