On average, every ten days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. That’s according to the Safe Kids Worldwide advocacy group.
July 31st a Heatstroke Prevention Day. Kids, because of their size, are more vulnerable to suffering from heatstroke.
In 2018, so far, there have been 29 recorded deaths of children being left in cars. One of the most recent cases was a 3-year-old boy who was found dead in Texas after being left in a daycare van on a scorching hot day — but first responders warn it doesn’t take an extremely hot day for a fatal accident to occur.
"The risk is there on a day that you may think is not too hot but that car, closed windows, can get significant hotter," Iowa City Fire Lieutenant, Axel Swanson, said.
In a matter of ten minutes, a car can heat up by 19 degrees. KWWL tested this out on a cloudy day where the temperature was at 80 degrees. In 20 minutes, the car’s temperature had increased by nearly 10 degrees.
Sometimes children are left behind cars because a parent forgets they’re in the back seat or they don’t want to wake them up while running in to do an errand. Swanson said it’s dangerous to leave a child in a car, no matter what. He also referenced easy ways to prevent yourself from ever forgetting.
"You can set reminders. One way is to put your briefcase, purse, briefcase in the back seat so you remember to get that," Swanson said.
Swanson said this isn’t a call he’s ever experienced in his 18 years as an Iowa City firefighter.
"I haven’t experienced it luckily and that’s a good thing but having this information out for it continue to not happening is a great thing," he said. "It’s good information to have so you put it in practice so it never does happen."
He reminds people to take action if they see a child left in a car by calling 911.
More resources on hot car safety can be found here.