KDOT: Heatstroke Risk Severe For Children Left In Cars During Summer Months

Temperatures are forecasted to climb back into the 90s across Kansas again this week, and the Kansas Department of Transportation, emergency responders and health advisors remind parents and caregivers to never leave a child in a car.

According to a news release from KDOT Monday, heat risks for children can occur even when outside temperatures are much lower. On a sunny day, the inside of a car can heat up 40 degrees in one hour, with 80% of that heat rise happening in the first 30 minutes. If the outside temperature is 80, a vehicle can heat to 99 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 114 degrees in 30 minutes.

Even a brief entrapment in a vehicle can expose a child to heat stroke once their body temperature reaches 104. A child may not be able to remove themselves from a car seat or escape a locked car.

The Kansas Highway Patrol, like all other emergency responders, are looking out for the safety of Kansas motorists and occupants. “Do not forget or leave children in a vehicle, even with windows cracked, for any amount of time,” said Colonel Herman T. Jones, Superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Children are more at risk for heatstroke complications and death because their bodies absorb heat more quickly and have trouble cooling off. A child’s body temperature climbs three to five times faster than an adult. Sweating won’t cool down an infant or young child in the same way it does an adult.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than half (53%) of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car, and 26% are from a child getting into a hot car unsupervised.

If you are a bystander and see a child in a hot vehicle:

Make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.

If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents. If someone is with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.