A comprehensive study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that from 1998 to 2014, 636 children died from heatstroke after being trapped in an enclosed vehicle. AAA North Jersey is reminding drivers always to remove children from parked vehicles, even if the child would be alone only for a few minutes.
“Any time a child is left unattended in a vehicle, that child is in danger of injury, harassment, abduction or dehydration,” said David L. Hughes, President and CEO of AAA North Jersey. “Even on pleasant spring days when the outside temperature hovers in the mid-60s, the temperature inside a closed vehicle can quickly reach 110 degrees.”
Children suffer heatstroke when their internal body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
According to data compiled by the NHTSA study, the reasons for heatstroke-related child deaths resulted from:
- Child “forgotten” by caregiver (53 percent)
- Child playing in unattended vehicle (29 percent)
- Child intentionally left in a vehicle by adult (17 percent)
- Unknown cases (1 percent)
“Most people know that they should never leave a child alone in a vehicle, but even the most loving parents or caregivers can make a mistake,” said Chuck Shotmeyer, Chairman of AAA North Jersey’s Board of Directors. “It’s in our best interests to follow a few simple steps to keep innocent mistakes from having tragic consequences.”
AAA Safe Seats 4 Kids is asking motorists to help avoid heatstroke in kids by remembering to ACT:
- Avoid heatstroke related injury and death by never leaving a child alone in a car, even for a minute.
- Create reminders and habits that give you and any caregivers a safety net. Leave an item needed at your next stop in the back seat so you don’t forget about your loved one.
- Take action if you see an unattended child or pet in a vehicle. Dial 911 and follow the instructions of emergency personnel.