July 31st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day. As summer heats up, heatstroke continues to be the number one vehicle-related killer of children, outside of car crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults, especially in the summer months and when it starts to get hot outside. Since 1998, more than 790 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when left unattended in a vehicle. Those deaths have occurred in the following ways:
- The child was forgotten by a caregiver—54 percent.
- The child gained access to an unattended vehicle—26 percent.
- The child was intentionally left in the vehicle by an adult—18 percent.
- The cause of the child’s death is unknown—1 percent.
In 2018, 52 children died from heatstroke, the highest number of deaths on record. Since 2015 there has been a gradual increase in annual deaths from vehicle-related heatstroke:
- 2015 – 24 deaths
- 2016 – 39 deaths
- 2017 – 42 deaths
- 2018 – 52 deaths (highest on record).
Because children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults, especially in the summer months, please share the following links to tip sheets and resources with parents and providers in your communities to help remind everyone to look before you lock.
Preventing Heatstroke Resources
- How Much Do You Know About Preventing Child Heatstroke: Take a quiz to learn how to prevent child heatstroke in cars
- Where’s Baby: Look Before You Lock: National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration educational campaign