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Children in the car: 52 died of heat death in the United States in 2019

Children in the hot car
Subscriptions & booklets

I In the United States, there are warnings on almost every corner. The stroller says 'Remove child before folding', the coffee mug says 'Contents could be hot' and the microwave says 'Do not put animals or children in it'. But what would apparently be much more important are warnings on, in and around cars with the inscription: 'Do not leave your child in the car when the outside temperature is hot.' Because in the past 22 years, this kind of negligence, nausea or simply stupidity has killed 863 children in the USA (as of August 10, 2020).

20 participating automakers (including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co.) announced that all US vehicles will be equipped with a rear seat reminder system by model year 2025. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV even announced that the memory technology will later be used worldwide. A technology that is intended to alert adults getting out of the car both audibly and visually that one or more children are still sitting in the rear. GM has had such a system in some US vehicles since 2016.

This happens in the car when it is hot

To explain what happens in the event of a painful death from heat: First of all, it loses small body of water and minerals, the blood thickens. The consequences are dizziness, nausea and an irregular, high pulse. In addition, there are disturbances of consciousness and seizures, and in very serious cases the brain can swell. If there is no improvement, they lose consciousness. And if nobody notices, they may never wake up again. Such a death throes in a child seat can last 30 minutes.

The temperatures in a car can be lethal after just a few minutes.

The fatal thing: Even at 20 degrees in spring, the temperature in the car is a midsummer 36 degrees after 30 minutes. It looks much worse at 30 degrees and more: At 34 degrees outside temperature, the inside of the vehicle heats up to 50 degrees after 30 minutes! First aid is then no longer sufficient. The emergency doctor has to be here.

Website of horror

How often the emergency doctor in the USA was unable to save anything in the past 22 years is extremely impressive on the website NoHeatStroke.org . A website that provides both graphical and tabular information about where and how old children have died from overheating in the car since 1998. Around 40 names are added every year. Sad number 800 was a four-year-old boy in St. Paul, Minnesota who was found dead on a Saturday after being left for hours in his father's hot SUV while he was at work.

Last In 2019, 52 children died from heat death in the car. Last year there were 53 (sad record). The record month is July. From 1998 to the present day 196 children died in July. In 1999 alone, 16 children died of heat death in exactly this month of death. It even goes so far that after accidents, heat death is the most common cause of death for children under the age of 14. March 19 of each year has been calculated as the start of the heat death season. Most of the children died on a Thursday (145) and Friday (146). 32 percent of the dead children did not even experience their first birthday. The mother was 36 percent responsible for the death, and the father 24 percent. In over half of the cases (54 percent) the children were simply forgotten. Interestingly, 57 percent of the accidents occurred in front of the house and only 25 percent at work. 17 children died in the car while their parents were at church. The US states with the most deaths are Texas (126), followed by Florida (93) and California (52).

Forgetting is human - but unfortunately also fatal

tinadefortunata /AdobeStock
In an emergency, you have toacted immediately.

With the introduction of the airbag on the passenger side, most children had to sit in their child seats in the second row of seats - a deadly exchange. Because 'forgetting a child in a car can happen to anyone,' says Gene Brewer, a psychologist at Arizona State University. 'Often the parents are simply distracted. There is no difference between age, class or personality. Functionally, our brain does not make much difference between forgetting the key and forgetting our own child in the car,' says Brewer.


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