Make sure children are properly restrained.

At-Home Safety: Preventing Child Heatstroke in Cars

June 27, 2018
NHTSA issues safety warning.

 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding parents and others about the dangers of leaving children unattended in a vehicle.

In the United States, one child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle every 10 days, and outside of crashes heatstroke is the number one vehicle-related killer, according to the agency.

"In almost no time temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels, which creates a dangerous situation for children who are in a car unsupervised,” said Deputy Administrator Heidi King in a statement. “Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense for preventing these tragedies—but everyone in the community has a role to play.” 

Since 1998, there have been 760 pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths,  including 18 so far in 2018. The agency stated that eliminating these deaths requires education, vigilance, and personal responsibility.  

To help prevent these tragic events, the NHTSA provided the following safety tips:

  • Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
  • Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car.
  • Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.

If you are a bystander and see a child in a hot vehicle: 

  • Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
  • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
  • If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive or appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window. Many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency. 

For additional child safety information please visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/child-safety. 

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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