Heatstroke can occur when a person’s temperature reaches above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes a person’s ability to maintain a healthy body temperature to be compromised. Symptoms of heatstroke include: dizziness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, seizures and loss of consciousness to name a few. Heatstroke can happen to a child left in a vehicle with relatively moderate temperatures outside such as 70 degrees. A car’s internal temperature can increase 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. Dark dash boards, seats and steering wheels attract sunlight and give off radiation which can warm the air around.

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Twenty states, including Pennsylvania, have laws against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Most children who were left in hot vehicles alone were forgotten about by adults exiting the vehicle. Other reports indicate that children ended up in hot vehicles unattended by climbing into the vehicles on their own. Some children however, are left in vehicles intentionally by an adult. A majority of children who have been affected by heatstroke were under the age of two years old.

To ensure the safety of your children this summer, never leave your child unattended in a vehicle. Always lock your vehicle and keep keys out of children’s reach. Teach children the importance of never entering a vehicle alone. If you see a child left in hot vehicle, call for help immediately.

Source: Department of Geosciences, “Heatstroke Deaths of Children in Vehicles.”

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