As indicated by the United States Department of Transportation, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the number of children who have died of sunstroke in a vehicle has reached maximum levels. During 2018, a total of 52 children lost their lives for this reason. We should stress the fact that more than half the cases registered between 1998 and 2018 were as a result of an adult forgetting about the child in the vehicle.
The data offered by NHTSA indicate that in around 44% of the cases, the caregiver intended to drop off the child at day care or school. Similarly, it is worth noting that the highest number of cases were recorded on a Thursday or Friday, close to the weekend.
There need only be an outside temperature of 25 degrees for 10 minutes in order to suffer from heatstroke. The symptoms of heatstroke are dizziness, vomiting, a headache and a rapid heart rate. A body temperature above 40°C can be life-threatening. This is the information set out in the report drafted by Fundación MAPFRE and the Spanish Pediatric Association which addresses this issue..
In this video we outline the reasons for not leaving children alone inside a car:
We recommend this article on the subject which offers 10 pieces of advice on how to prevent heatstroke in children, as well as what to do if you see a child locked in a car.
We should also be aware that several systems have been designed in order to remember that there is a child inside the car, which can be highly useful. Receiving a text message on our cell phone the minute we move away from the vehicle can remind us not to leave anyone inside the car.
ADVICE FROM THE NHTSA FOR ADULTS TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN
With the goal of not leaving children locked inside a vehicle, the United States Department of Transportation has made these recommendations:
- Place a briefcase, purse or cell phone next to the child's car seat. This will ensure that you always look back. However, don't forget that all objects should be well-secured or stored in closed compartments.
- Keep a stuffed animal or another memento in your child's car seat when it's empty. Move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
- If you have a child care provider, insist on the importance of doing this.
- Make sure that the nursery or school will call you if your child does not arrive as scheduled.
- Close all the doors when the vehicle is parked so that children cannot get inside and get locked in.
- Children should not be allowed to play in a vehicle unattended. They should be taught that a vehicle is not a play area.
- Car keys should be kept out of children's reach.
- If a child is missing, quickly check all the vehicles, including the trunk.