Kids in Hot Cars

by Gwen Newell

Summers in the Carolinas bring heat and humidity along with scorching temperatures that can not only wreak havoc on your vehicle, but harm the passengers inside. Always remember: if you think it’s hot outside, it is always going to be MUCH hotter in your car!

Most people aren’t aware that heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of 14, with an average of 37 fatalities per year since 1998. Another major fact: there has been an increase in child vehicular heat stroke deaths every year since 2015. Even when it’s not too hot outside, again, always remember: it can get extremely hot inside your vehicle in just a matter of minutes.

AAA wants to prompt both parents and caregivers to look before you lock and pledge to never forget your child in the car. These vehicular-heat related statistics are important to keep in mind:

  • A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body
  • A child can die of heat stroke on a 72-degree day
  • On a 95-degree day a car can heat up to over 180-degrees
  • The steering wheel can reach 159 degrees (temperature for cooking medium rare meat)
  • The seats can reach 162 degrees (temperature for cooking ground beef)
  • The dash can reach 181 degrees (temperature for cooking poultry)
  • At 104-degrees internal organs start to shut down

AAA urges motorists to ACT at all times:

  • A—Avoid heatstroke by never leaving a child in the car alone, not even for a minute.
  • C—Create electronic reminders or put something in the backseat you need when exiting the car. For example, a cell phone, purse, wallet, briefcase or shoes. Always lock your car and never leave car keys or car remote where children can get to them.
  • T—Take action and immediately call 9-1-1- if you notice a child unattended in a car.

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