Hot Cars Can Quickly Become Deathtraps For Tots

Iowa — When Iowa’s weather gets warmer, the risks rise of a child dying of heatstroke after accidentally being left in a vehicle by a parent or caregiver. It’s a rare tragedy in the state, but it still happens far too often, according to Laura Dunn, a highway safety specialist with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Iowa may not get as hot as Arizona during the summer, but the danger is still significant here. While the risk of hot car deaths is highest when temperatures are hottest, heatstroke can be fatal at any time of year — and at outside temperatures as low as 60 degrees.

An average of 37 children die in hot vehicles nationwide every year, and during the summer months, Dunn says it’s roughly two each week.

Forgotten children make up about 53 percent of hot car deaths, while some 26 percent of the deaths are from a child getting into a car but they can’t get out. About 20 percent of hot car deaths come from a parent intentionally leaving a child in the car without realizing how quickly it will heat up. Studies show a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, and when a child’s body temperature reaches 107 degrees or higher, it can lead to death.

She also suggests leaving something you need during the day — like your phone, a purse or a briefcase — in the back seat with the child. The NHTSA says heatstroke from hot cars is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related death for kids 14 and younger. Click here for more information.

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