Vehicular Heatstroke – What Is It And How To Avoid It

Heat Exhaustion

Vehicular heatstroke is oftentimes misunderstood by the public. One of the greatest mistakes a parent can make is to believe they can leave their children locked in a car during the hot summer days.

In more than half of reported cases of vehicular heatstroke, the adult who forgot a child inside a vehicle did that without even realizing it. The harsh reality is that tragedy could happen to the most caring and responsible parents. Since the body of a child can overheat 3 to 5 times faster than the body of an adult, it is easy to understand why a child left inside a car on a hot summer day could suffer heatstroke and lose their life or suffer from severe consequences like brain damage or internal organ damage.

It is not only kids that can fall victim to heatstroke. You might know about the football player who died of heatstroke after working out outdoors in high temperatures. Without a doubt, the temperature inside a car can reach deadly numbers in the summer.

On average, there are 37 children who lose their lives each year because of vehicular heatstroke. Eighty-seven percent of them were age 3 or younger. Here is what you can do to recognize heat stroke symptoms while lowering the risk of having such a tragedy happen to you.

Heat Stroke Symptoms

Heatstroke usually progresses from a milder heat cramp, a case of fainting or heat exhaustion. However, it can sometimes have no recognizable symptoms. It is a mix of sitting in high temperatures for too long and being dehydrated. The body simply cannot control its temperature normally and it reaches 104 degrees. Disorientation, nausea, a state of general confusion, a throbbing headache, red and hot skin, no sweating, shallow breathing, and seizures are also symptoms of heatstroke.

First Aid In Case Of Heat Stroke

heatstroke symptomsIn case you suspect your child or someone else is suffering from a heat stroke, you should call 911 straight away and ask for an ambulance or safely transport them to the hospital using your own car, if possible. While waiting for help to arrive, use first aid practice and make sure to move the victim to a shady and cooler place. Remove any clothes that are not necessary and use a fan and water from a hose, ice packs applied to the armpit, neck, back and groin area to cool them down faster. Avoid using ice on young children, seniors or people who suffer from any chronic illnesses.

How To Prevent Heatstroke

  • Never lock before you look. Us this strategy every time you need to park your car, even for the briefest moment to run a quick errand nearby. Make a habit out of always looking behind and making sure your young child is not stranded in the backseat. Babies can easily and quietly fall asleep which would, in turn, cause a parent to forget about their presence for the time being. It sounds impossible, but sleepless nights, stress and juggling several tasks at once could all contribute to an otherwise responsible adult forgetting to take out their children from the car.

  • Always lock the car when parked at home, inside the garage, in the driveway and any other location where you know your son or daughter could have access. This way, you should prevent them from sneaking into the car when no one is watching. Kids will be kids and their curiosity will oftentimes push them inside your car, eager to see what the steering wheel or the honk are all about. Also, never make the mistake of leaving your kids in the ignition with the car unlocked or the key fob at easy reach for your kids. If you need any assistance with your car locks or keys, get in touch with us. We offer specialized solutions for all car makes and models and we also provide 24/7 lockout assistance in all US states. The local police often times works together with authorized locksmith services like ours to come to the help of people who have mistakingly locked themselves out of their cars – especially when small children are blocked in.

  • Always have a spare key on you and use it to unlock your vehicle in case your small child is locked in with the keys and they cannot use them to release themselves.

  • Use an old toy to make sure you never leave your child inside the car without when exiting the vehicle. Place the toy on the front seat when your child is in the back seat and in the child's car seat when your child is not in the car with you. This way, you should be able to effectively prevent leaving your kid behind when parking your car.

  • Talk to your child's caregiver and make sure they always get in touch with you as soon as they notice your children missing from school or kindergarten.

Can Dogs Suffer From Heat Strokes?

Unfortunately, our furry friends are also subject to the same kind of risks associated with high temperatures in enclosed spaces. Their symptoms will include anything from panting, signs of dehydration, excessive drooling, a fast heart rate and body temperatures above 103 degrees. when the right first aid is provided, a dog suffering from heatstroke symptoms should recover rather easily. If the dog's temperature reaches more than 106 degrees, it will be treated as a potentially life-threatening condition. Never leave your dog locked inside the car in the summer and make sure to call 911 in case you need immediate assistance.

Call the authorities if your child or someone you know is accidentally locked inside a car in the summer or they require medical attention. 


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