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Safety Focus

Hot Cars: Preventing Heat-Related Deaths

As outdoor temperatures increase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of leaving children (and animals) in hot cars. Heat stroke is the No. 1 cause of non-crash-related motor vehicle deaths among children 14 and younger, according to NHTSA. From 1998 to 2016, 700 children died from heat stroke after being left in a vehicle. Fifty-three percent of those children had been forgotten by a caregiver, 29 percent were playing in unattended vehicles and 17 percent were intentionally left in the vehicle.
 Preventing Heat Related Deaths InfographicTips for parents and caregivers include:
 -  Never leave a child alone in a parked vehicle.  
 -  Always check the front and back seats of the vehicle before walking away.
 -  To prevent children from playing in unattended vehicles, always lock your vehicle doors and trunk.
 -  Make sure your child's daycare will call you if your child does not show up.
 -  If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, take action by locating the parents, or calling 911. 

Children are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke because their body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s temperature, NHTSA states. A child in a parked vehicle is at risk even if the windows are rolled down – a vehicle can heat up by as many as 20º F in only 10 minutes. 

Don't forget that every year furry family members are also in danger of heat stroke and death after being left in hot cars. Parking in the shade and/or rolling the windows down is not enough to protect them. Even on mild days, your car can get too hot for pets.

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