• August 11th, 2021

With more families at home right now, your daily routine may be looking a little different. To help keep your youngest family members and charges safe, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to make sure parents and caregivers are up to speed on the dangers of vehicle heatstroke. NHTSA and other safety advocates and academic institutions have recognized the safety threat heatstroke poses for children left unattended in hot cars. Here are the key facts:

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-traffic, non-crash-related fatalities for children 14 and younger:

  • In 2020, 25 children died due to vehicular heatstroke. In 2019, 53 children died in vehicular heatstroke incidents. The significantly lower number of deaths in 2021 is likely due to more families being at home, with routines drastically changed.
  • From 1998-present, a total of 893 children died due to vehicular heatstroke. Of the 893 deaths:
    • 9%: Forgotten by caregiver
    • 6%: Gained access on their own
    • 7%: Knowingly left by caregiver
    • 7 %: Unknown

For the latest pediatric vehicular heatstroke materials, please visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/child-safety/heatstroke-prevention.

See the full fact sheet here.