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Northampton, MA 01060
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By contactus
June 22, 2012
Category: In the News
Tags: Untagged


Child Vehicular Heat Stroke


A child’s body temperature rises 3‐5 times faster than an adult’s. Even with the windows partially down, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 125 degrees in just minutes. Leaving the windows opened slightly does not significantly slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature attained.  There are several factors that contribute to children being inadvertently forgotten by care givers. The most common factors include a change in one’s normal routine, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, distractions and hormone changes. When these factors combine, the ability for the brain to multi‐task is diminished.  As parents know, life with newborns and small children is full of stress, sleep deprivation and distractions. And young children, especially babies, often fall asleep in their car seats; becoming quiet, unobtrusive little passengers. And sadly, for babies with rear‐facing seats, the seat looks the same from the front seat – whether occupied or not.

Vehicular heat stroke is largely misunderstood by the general public. The majority of parents would like to believe that they could never “forget” their child in a vehicle. It happens to the most loving, protective parents. It has happened to a teacher, pediatrician, dentist, postal clerk, social worker, police officer, nurse, clergyman, electrician, accountant, soldier, assistant principal, and even a rocket scientist. It can happen to anyone.

Circumstances of Child Vehicular Heat Stroke

•      Unknowingly left in vehicle:           54.25%

•      Knowingly left in vehicle:               11.94%

•      Got into vehicle on their own:        31.58%

•      Circumstance Unknown:                1.82%

Ages of Child Vehicular Heat Stroke Deaths

•      <1‐year old                   31%

•      1 to 3 years old            56%

•      4 to 14‐years old                    13%

Eighty‐seven percent (87%) of children who have died from vehicular heat stroke are age 3 and younger.

Safety Tips from

·        Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

·        Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat.

·        Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind. This will soon become a habit. We call this the “Look Before You Lock” campaign.

·        Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.

·        Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.

·        Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.

·        Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.

·        When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.

·        If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

·        Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.

·        Use drive‐thru services when available. (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.)

·        Use your debit or credit card to pay for gas at the pump.

For additional information about ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles, visit our website at


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