Kids in hot cars.

Cars and vans heat up quickly. Even if a window is rolled down a little, when the outside temperature is in the low 20s (Celsius), the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes.

Infants and children under four years of age are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illness. Their bodies absorb more heat on a hot day than an adult. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child's body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.

One Decision (Child Safety Film - Vehicular Heat Stroke)

By incorporating the following small measures into your daily routine, you can help prevent this type of tragedy from happening.

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.
  • Make sure your childcare provider knows to call you if your child has not been dropped off at the usual time.
  • Always place an item (purse, bag, etc.) in the backseat so that you have to open the door every time you leave the vehicle.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in your child’s car seat when it is not occupied. When your child is in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. This is a visual reminder: any time the stuffed animal is in the front seat, you know your child is in the back seat.
  • When you arrive at your destination, avoid any distractions including talking on the phone or texting while you exit your car.

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Sources:

Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: March 2020

Injury Prevention

Liane Fransblow, Coordinator

514-412-4400 x 24805

liane.fransblow@muhc.mcgill.ca

Trauma

Phone : 514-412-4400 ext. 23310

Fax : 514-412-4254

514-412-4499, Emergency Department (for patient transfer) / 514-412-4399 (fax)