Heatstroke Hazard: Why Checking the Backseat Can Save Your Child’s Life

Summer brings warmth, sunshine, and the perfect weather for outdoor activities. However, this season also comes a significant but often underestimated danger: leaving children in hot cars. At Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, we are deeply committed to the well-being of the children in our community. We love seeing your kids healthy and thriving, but they are not in our emergency room due to preventable incidents. One such incident is a heatstroke from being left in a hot car.

The Silent Threat

Even on a seemingly mild day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to dangerous levels within minutes. Here are some alarming facts:

  • Rapid Temperature Increase: On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 109 degrees within 20 minutes and can exceed 120 degrees in less than 40 minutes.
  • Heatstroke Risk: Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises above 104 degrees, potentially damaging the brain and other vital organs. Children are particularly vulnerable as their bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than adults.
  • Short Time Frame: A child’s body temperature can rise to dangerous levels within minutes, even if the car windows are cracked open.

Real-Life Consequences

Tragically, every year, children suffer and sometimes die from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Many parents believe a quick errand lasting only a few minutes is safe. However, these brief moments can turn deadly faster than we might think.

Preventive Measures

To ensure your child’s safety, consider the following tips:

  1. Never Leave Your Child Alone: Make it a rule never to leave your child alone in a car, even for a minute.
  2. Check Before You Lock: Always check the back seat before locking your car. Place essential items like your phone, purse, or work badge in the back seat to remind you to look.
  3. Create Reminders: Use reminders to ensure you don’t forget your child is in the car. This can be as simple as setting an alarm on your phone or leaving a stuffed animal in the front seat when your child is in the back.
  4. Stay Vigilant: Take action immediately if you see a child alone in a car. Call 911 and seek help; every second counts.

Community Responsibility

We believe safeguarding our children is a collective responsibility. Share this information with friends, family, and caregivers. Awareness and education are our most powerful tools in preventing these tragedies. Leaving your child in a hot car, even for a short time, can have dire consequences. Together, we can ensure that every child remains safe and healthy and enjoys all the joys that summer has to offer.

We are here to help you keep your children safe and out of the ER. Stay safe, stay vigilant, and have a wonderful summer! Click HERE or the image below for more injury prevention and safety tips.


leaving kids in hot cars