Help Prevent Vehicular Heatstroke This Summer

By on May 10, 2022 0 402Views

Summer is just around the corner and warmer weather has already arrived in the Valley. As drought conditions continue to worsen in the Southwest, Arizona is expected to see higher than normal temperatures this summer. As Valley residents are very familiar to hot summer temperatures, this is a reminder that we need to be aware of the risk high temperatures can create for children.

According to data collected by Kids and Car Safety, more than 1,000 children have died from vehicular heatstroke since 1990 and more than 7,300 have survived with a variety of severe injuries. Aside from car crashes, heatstroke is the leading cause of death in vehicles for children under the age of 14.

Most of these incidents occur during a drive when a parent or caregiver forgot their child was in the car with them and unknowingly, tragically left them in the car. This can happen if a parent is distracted while driving, sleep deprived, has a new routine, or stressed out. Parents can go into autopilot mode while driving and forget their child is in the backseat.

It is important to know that even on days with moderate temperatures, nothing can keep your child safe in a hot vehicle: not the color of your car, not a cracked window, or parking in the shade. Temperatures inside a car increase quickly regardless of any factors. The car’s windows allow sunlight to transfer in and heat up the air inside the vehicle. Interior elements such as the plastic dashboard, steering wheel, and upholstery also absorb heat and radiate it back into the air further increasing the temperature inside a car. It only takes 10 minutes for a vehicle to heat up more than 19 degrees.

Young child lack the ability to regulate their body temperature and high temperatures are very dangerous. It can cause their bodies to heat up three to five times faster than an adult.

Incidents like these are completely preventable and everyone can take part in helping avoid them. Create a routine of checking your backseat by placing something you remove from your car every time in the back. If you’re traveling with a small child, set up multiple reminders at different times to make sure they are not left behind. For parents or guardians that are working from home, never leave your car unlocked and keep car keys somewhere not accessible for young children. If your child is missing always make it a point to check your car and the trunk first. In addition, if you see a child or pet left in a parked car, call the police immediately and help remove the child or pet from the vehicle.

Click here for more summer tips from the Maricopa County Attorney’s office to Keep Your Family Safe.