Heatstroke Key Points

What is Heatstroke?

  • Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children.
  • It occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
  • Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s (source: American Academy of Pediatrics).
  • A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes (org). This means that with a 90° outside temperature, the inside of a car can heat up to 109° in 10 minutes and will continue to rise. Cracking a window doesn’t help.
  • Symptoms can quickly progress from flushed, dry skin and vomiting to seizures, organ failure and death.

Key Statistics

  • From 1998 through 2019, at least 849 children across the United States died from heatstroke when unattended in vehicles. (Statistics prior to 1998 are not considered reliable).
    • 2% – child forgotten by caregiver
    • 2% – child entered unattended vehicle unnoticed
    • 1% – child knowingly left in vehicle by adult
    • 5% – Unknown
  • From 1998 through 2019, Texas leads all states with 126 pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH) deaths.
  • Through July 28, 2020, there have been 13 PVH deaths in U. S., including four in Texas. In 2019, there were 52 PVH deaths in the U. S, including 7 in Texas. This was the 2nd highest yearly number of PVH deaths on record. The year with the highest number of deaths was 2018, with 53 deaths in the U. S., including 5 in Texas.


Reduce the number of pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths by remembering to ACT:

Avoid heatstroke-related injury by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a quick trip to the store. Always lock your doors and trunks — including in your driveway or garage. If a child goes missing, check the pool first, then check the vehicles, including trunks.

Create reminders. Routinely place something you’ll need at your next stop — like a purse, briefcase or cellphone — in the backseat.

Take Action. If you see a child alone in a car, take action. Call 911.

Reduzca el número de muertes por insolación  recordando las siglas ECA:

 Evite las lesiones y muertes relacionadas con la insolación al no dejar nunca solo a su niño en el auto, ni siquiera por un minuto. Y asegúrese de mantener con llaves su auto cuando usted no está adentro, pues así los niños no entran por su propia cuenta.

C  Cree recordatorios colocando algo en la parte de atrás del auto y junto a su niño, como un maletín, una cartera o teléfono celular, que le hará falta al llegar a su destino final.

 Actúe. Si usted ve a un niño solo en un auto, llame al 911.