YTD: 21 children killed from heatstroke in hot cars


Twitter: @Ellie_Romano 

RHODE ISLAND (WLNE) – More than 20 children have died from heatstroke in a hot car nationwide in 2019. 

Children are more susceptible to heatstroke because their little bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than an adult’s.

Southern New England is currently undergoing an excessive heat warning, so parents need to keep an eye on their children, especially in the car. 

“Parents don’t realize how quickly a car can heat up,” said Dina Burstein with Hasboro Children’s Hospital. 

It only takes 10 minutes for your car to heat up 20 degrees. 

Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.

“Even if you leave the windows cracked, that doesn’t really help,” said Burstein.

According to the non-profit Safe Kids Worldwide, the majority of hot car deaths involving children are accidents, caused by the caretaker forgetting the child is in the car. 

“For some reason, the routine will have changed,” explained Burstein. “Let’s say mom usually drops the child off at daycare, but for some reason, dad is doing it today, and he’s not used to it– it’s not a part of his routine, so he forgets.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends setting reminders for yourself so you don’t forget baby is on board.  

“Leave your purse or cell phone in the back with the child, so then you have to go into the back to get that back out,” said Burstein.

In 2018, 52 children died of heatstroke in hot cars. So far in 2019, 21 juvenile deaths have been recorded. 

“If you see something, you should do something,” said Burstein. She recommended calling 9-1-1 if you ever see a child left in the car. 

In Rhode Island, if you leave a child 7-years-old or younger in the car alone, police can issue you a verbal warning. 

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2019