AAA Kansas: Why Kansans Should Be Aware of Vehicle-Related Heat Stroke

This week in Kansas, temperatures are expected to reach the triple digits. AAA is reminding parents and caregivers that with these dangerously high temperatures, children should never be left unattended in vehicles.

According to NoHeatStroke.Org, 948 children have died nationwide due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke since 1998. In 2022 alone, there were 33 deaths. Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under 14.

In Kansas, 14 children have died in hot vehicles since 1998. Kansas ranks the 10th highest in the United States; Kansas’ per capita vehicular heatstroke death rate is 24 per 1 million.

While 53% of hot car deaths were caused by adults forgetting children, 26% of victims gained access to cars and were playing in vehicles unattended.

AAA Urges Drivers to:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – not even for a minute.
  • If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 9-1-1.
  • Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading.  Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.
  • Teach children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
  • Teach that if they can’t get out of the rear doors, to try the front doors; and that failing to honk the horn to get the attention of others.
  • If a child is missing, always check the pool first (if there is one), and then the car, including the trunk.
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the child car seat, and when the child is put in the seat, place the animal in the front with the driver.  Or place your purse, briefcase or cell phone in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
  • Make “look before you lock” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
  • Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up as scheduled.

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