Record Number of Children Dying from Heatstroke

Children, older adults, and pets are especially susceptible to heatstroke. In fact, last year 52 American children died of heatstroke. That’s the highest number of heatstroke deaths in more than twenty years.

In late May, a five month old girl died in a daycare van in Jacksonville, Florida. She was the eighth child to die from being in a hot vehicle in the United States already this year.

Leading Causes of Vehicular Heatstroke Death

According to, over half of the heatstroke cases that occurred in a vehicle between 1998 and 2018 were the result of an adult forgetting about a child. There were more deaths at the end of the workweek. In approximately 44% of the cases, the adult caregiver intended to drop the child off at daycare or preschool. The second leading cause of vehicular heatstroke fatalities? Children entering unattended vehicles. Make sure you always lock your vehicle doors and trunk to help prevent this from happening.

Knowingly leaving a child in a vehicle is the third leading cause of vehicular heatstroke in children. This is also the most preventable. Do not leave a child alone in a parked car, even if the air conditioning is on or the windows are down. A child’s body temperature can rise 3-5x faster than an adult’s body temperature.

It’s easy to dismiss the risk of heatstroke and think that you’ll never forget to drop your child at daycare, or that your child will be fine in the car for a few minutes while you run an errand, but the families who lost loved ones thought the same thing once. It’s always important to be vigilant while caring for a child, but perhaps even more so during the hot summer months, when vehicles can get extremely hot extremely quickly.

What to Do If You Witness a Child Alone in a Vehicle

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, check to see if the child is alert and responsive. If not, call 911 right away. If the child seems to be okay, try to locate the parents or page the car owner if you are in a public area. If the child is unresponsive and appears to be in distress, call 911 and follow the operator’s instructions.

Heatstroke occurs when an individual’s body temperature reaches mover than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the thermoregulatory system to be overwhelmed. Symptoms of heatstroke can include disorientation, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, seizures, agitation, loss of consciousness, and rapid heartbeat.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.