Here we go again.

Another summer comes with another round of parents leaving kids in cars by themselves and dying from hyperthermia. Just this past weekend, two kids, in separate incidents in Phoenix, AZ, died from heat stroke after their care taker left them in the car less than 24 hours apart.  The temperature for these events was 101 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Is it really that hard to remember you have child, or in one of the cases a grandchild, in the car?

Since 1998, 729 kids have died from hyperthermia after their care giver left them in a car and Arizona leads the way with 18.1 deaths for every one million people. Phoenix Fire Captain Larry Subveri stated that the Phoenix area sees about 10 kids die every year after parents leave them in a hot car. Also, the National Highway and Transportation Administration (NHTSA) has started attacking the problem through social media campaigns,  using the hashtags #heatstrokekills and #checkforbaby.

But what can you do on an individual level? If you have children or responsible for caring for children follow these tips:

  • Look before you lock the car.
  • Keep a reminder in the vehicle like a stuffed animal or toy and place it next to you in the front seat when you have the child in your car.
  • Set a reminder to make sure your child arrived safely if someone has your child in their care and is taking your child somewhere.
  • Lock your car and put your keys away so that kids don’t play in your car and get trapped.
  • Get involved and call 911 if you see a child locked in a car.

If you are a 911 provider, treatment consists of the following:

BLS and hyperthermia

  • Extricate the patient from the vehicle
  • Administer oxygen via a BVM
  • CPR
  • Take the patient’s temperature, rectal is preferred
  • Remove the patient’s clothing
  • Cool the patient down

ALS and hyperthermia 

  • Continuous cardiac monitoring
  • ACLS as needed
  • Obtain a glucose reading
  • Administer IV fluids as per your local protocol