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US agencies warn of heat stroke in the car and how we can all avoid it

Organismos de Estados Unidos advierten sobre los golpes de calor en el coche y cómo todos podemos evitarlos


Nearly 900 children have been killed by heat stroke in a vehicle since 1998, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in the US. In 2020 alone, 25 children died from heatstroke in a car in the United States, and so far in 2021, 7 children have already lost their lives. According to the data at, all children who have died to date were under the age of 3. The organization locates the places where it happens and all related information with the aim of raising awareness and preventing it from happening. 

Meanwhile, Safekids Worldwide points out that every 10 days a child dies from heat stroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the child's carer forgot that the child was in the car.Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults.

'Where's my baby' is the question the NHTSA encourages parents to ask themselves when they leave the vehicle. Children that suffer heat stroke in cars is mainly caused by forgetfulness. This can be avoided. The parent or guardian thinks he/she has dropped the child off at nursery, parks the vehicle and goes to work. This happens too often and can have terrible consequences, especially in high temperatures.

As US Traffic reminds us, a child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's. Heat stroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees. 

The NHTSA indicates that a child can die when his or her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.  As stated in the report 'Children in cars and childhood heat stroke', drawn up by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics and Fundación MAPFRE, it only takes 10 minutes in a car with an outside temperature of 25 ºC for a child to suffer heat stroke. Never leaving them alone in a vehicle is essential to prevent this from happening, as well as constantly hydrating them or preventing them from exercising during the hottest and sunniest times of the day. 


-Never leave a child unattended, even if the windows are left partially open or the engine is running to keep the air conditioning or climate control turned on. 

-Always check, before closing the vehicle door, that there is no one in the back seats and ask yourself before leaving: Where's the baby?

-Ask the education center to notify if the child does not show up at the scheduled time. 

-Place a personal item such as a handbag or briefcase on the back seat. This way, we don't forget to look behind us before we leave. Place a soft toy on the front passenger seat to remind us that the child is in the back. 

-Keep the vehicle keys out of the reach of children and do not let them play around them. 

-If you see a child alone in a locked car, remove the child immediately and call 911 in the United States or 112 in the European Union.Here we discuss what to do if you see a child locked inside a vehicle

In this video the NHTSA addresses the dangers of leaving a child in a car. 

In this other video, Safekids Worldwide also addresses this issue:

In this article we discuss how to act if your child is suffering from heat stroke. It all depends on whether he/she is conscious or not, but the most important thing is to get him/her medical attention as soon as possible. In this infographic we look at how to avoid forgetting a child in the car and preventing him/her from suffering heat stroke:

Golpes de calor
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