Hot Car Deaths in Children

Hot Car Deaths in Children

Asher Smith, Reporter

Children have died because of being left in hot cars for years. There have been several cases in the last four years. It takes a long time for a child to pass because of heat, so how long have they been in the car, and how can their parents forget about them for so long? From what we have learned, it takes around nine hours for a child’s body to reach such a deadly temperature. 

According to the national safety council  In the last four years, around 100 kids have died from heat strokes. The highest case was in 2018 and 2019 with the death of 53 kids. Last year, 25 and this year 22 have perished, but the question asked is why?  How can their parents leave them there for so long? In most cases this happens because of a change in routine or absent mindedly multitasking and forgetting that their child is still in the car. Occasionally  first time parents are not used to taking their child to daycare and not work, so they forget they are there.  

According to the NHTSA around 38 children under the age of 15 die each year from heat stroke after being left in a hot car. When a child is left in a hot car, they can become destressed very easily along with dehydration  and can possibly die from organ failure in the span of a few minutes. It can just take around 15 minutes or less for a child to suffer from brain  or kidney failure.  In the United States, according to USA today almost 900 kids have died  from hot cars since 1998. In one hour, a car is around 48 degrees hotter than the temperature on the outside. The temperature  inside a vehicle can be 100 degrees on the inside when it is only 70 on the outside. That means it’s way too hot for a child to survive for more than 20 minutes in that car.

 A child’s temperature rises 5 times faster than an adult’s will, so their body heat will rise way too high for their body to handle. A heat stroke can happen when their core body temperature reaches around 104 degrees. Around that time, a child will be severely dehydrated and it can take 15 minutes before a child could be experiencing major organ failure along with brain or kidney related injuries. Children will die when their body reaches 107 degrees Fahrenheit.  Not only can a child die from the heat, they can die from the carbon dioxide levels in the air if the vehicle they are in is completely sealed. It could take around 16 hours for an adult to die, but with a child it could take only about 5 hours. 

Hot car deaths: 4 children have died of vehicular … – USA Today       

 Hot Car Deaths – Injury Facts – National Safety Council

You Can Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths | NHTSA ›