Child vehicular heatstroke can occur in minutes, dispelling the notion of a “quick errand”

Temperatures are rising across the Gem State, and AAA reminds parents to bring their children with them into air-conditioned buildings to prevent the risk of heatstroke. On average, a child dies every seven days from being left in a hot car, and these tragedies are almost always preventable.

“A car interior can heat up by 20 degrees in as little as ten minutes, and a child’s body temperature rises at a rate that is three to five times faster than that of an adult,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “When the health and safety of children is on the line, there really is no such thing as a quick errand.”

Heat fatalities can occur when the outside temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and a car interior can heat up quickly, even in a shaded area and with the windows partly down.

“Sometimes, a caregiver forgets that a child is in the vehicle. Put something like a wallet or purse in the back seat as a reminder to check before you leave your car,” Conde said. “At home, keep your vehicles locked, and put the keys out of reach. Never allow children to play in or near a parked vehicle, including the trunk.”

AAA reminds parents that red skin, headaches, nausea, and a lack of sweating even though it’s hot are all signs of heatstroke. Seek medical attention right away.

In 2019, 53 children died in vehicular heatstroke deaths. From 1998-2020, a total of 882 children died.

“With triple-digit temperatures, the dangers of hot cars might seem a little more obvious, but kids are at risk in a hot car even when the outside air temperature is fairly mild,” Conde said. “Please bring your children into the store with you. They might get a little rambunctious, but that is a small price to pay to keep them safe.”

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