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Hyperthermia Deaths of Children in Hot Vehicles

Reina Armold

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Some people say that this could happen to anyone. But c'mon, are we really that forgetful? How can we forget our children in the back of our cars? I don't know, maybe I'm a paranoid parent, but I have to know minute by minute what my kids are doing and where they are. They're constantly on my mind. Maybe it helps that I'm stay-at-home mom and know that if my children are not with me they are not with any one else, but still, being a working parent or not, I just can't comprehend how can anyone forget their child in the back of their car for hours.

Some may argue that it's easy to forget a sleeping baby in the back of a car. And I say what? How can anyone forget about their baby? You know that they are going to need milk soon or later, so they are always on your mind, or they should be anyway. I don't know, maybe some of us are suffering of an epidemic early case of Alzheimer's disease. Excuse my bluntness, but just the thought of a baby or child dying in the back of a car just angers me. I already made the decision that this is not going to happen to me. I know that I have two kids, and I've made the decision that no matter where I go, and no matter what short of time I'm going to spend there, I will never leave my children in my car. I will always bring them along with me. So when I turn that key to off, and the engine of my car stops running, the first things I do is get out of my car and go to the back and open the door to get my children. I have made this a habit-even when my children are home with my husband and I go somewhere, I get out of my car and then go to open the back door to check if my children are there.

Let's be proactive, don't be of the mindset that this could happen to anyone and just hope that it doesn't happen to you. Let's take the necessary measures to ensure that this horrible thing doesn't happen to our children. If you consider yourself a forgetful person, or if you're going trough a busy or difficult time in your life which causes you to forget things, please make sure you come up with a plan that will work for you, to remember your baby or child in the back of your car.

This is what could happen to child left unattended in a vehicle:

Heatstroke occurs when a person's temperature exceeds 104 degrees F and their thermo regulatory mechanism is overwhelmed.

- Symptoms include : dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, loss of consciousness, rapid heart beat, hallucinations
A core body temperature of 107 degrees F is considered lethal as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down.

Children's thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult's and their bodies warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's.


Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.

Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, check the car first, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.

Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.

Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

Make “look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.

Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.


Total number of U. S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2008: 15
Total number of U. S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2007: 35
Total number of U. S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 1998-2008: 376
Average number of U. S. child hyperthermia fatalities per year since 1998: 36

An examination of media reports about the 361 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths for a ten year period (1998 through 2007) shows the following circumstances:

  • Circumstances

  • 51% - child “forgotten" by caregiver

  • 30% - child playing in unattended vehicle

  • 18% - child intentionally left in vehicle by adult

  • 1% - circumstances unknown

    For additional information on Hyperthermia visit:

    Those are my thoughts on Hyperthermia Deaths of Children in Hot Vehicles, I would love to hear your thoughts and or concerns on this matter. Please feel free to leave a comment. Look forward in hearing your thoughts.

    Reina is the Publisher at - A blog that talks about helpful tips for raising Babies, Kids and Teens.

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