Posted on 7/30/2016
During the summer, intense sunlight and high outdoor temperatures can turn
a parked car into a serious threat to your child’s health and safety.
Each summer, an average of almost 40 children die from heat stroke after
being left in a parked car, and many of these situations are accidents.
Heat stroke is a serious and life-threatening illness that can occur quickly
in children and always requires
emergency pediatric care.
The Dangers of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs when
the body is exposed to extreme heat. This condition often occurs simultaneously with dehydration, and together
these factors disrupt the body’s natural temperature regulation
system. As the body overheats, brain and organ damage occur, eventually
leading to death if emergency care is not administered to reduce body
Children and Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a particularly serious threat to children. Because children’s
bodies are still developing, their temperature regulation and respiratory
systems are not as effective at dissipating excess heat as those of an
adult. On average, a child’s body will heat up three to five times
as quickly as an adult’s, drastically decreasing the time it takes
to develop heat stroke and increasing the risks of dehydration, organ
damage, and death. Small children, particularly those strapped into car
seats, cannot escape their situation, and instead fall unconscious or
unresponsive as a result.
Vehicle-Related Heat Stroke
Children who are intentionally or accidentally left in parked cars are
at high risk for developing heat stroke. This is because the unique environment
inside a car can cause the interior to heat up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit
or higher in the summer within just ten minutes. Cracking a window does
not reduce this effect, and children should not be left alone inside running
vehicles for additional safety reasons.
Sunrise Children’s Hospital wants your child to enjoy a safe and
healthy summer. Our children’s hospital serving Las Vegas offers
complete pediatric care, including children’s emergency care, trauma
care, and surgery. You can find more health and safety information on
our website, or call (702) 233-5437 to
speak with a registered nurse.