Hot Cars Can Quickly Become Deadly for Children if Left Unattended

As summer temperatures continue to reach record highs across the country, it’s important to remember that while these summer days are great for the pool and the beach, they’re not so good for the inside of cars, which can raise to deadly temperatures in a very short period of time. Safe Kids Cobb County reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars.

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Sadly, so far this summer, 13 children have died from heatstroke in hot cars; Georgia accounts for two of those fatalities. Between 1998 and 2012, 20 of the nation’s vehicle-related hyperthermia child deaths occurred in Georgia.

These tragedies are happening far too often. They are heartbreaking and preventable, and a reminder for all of us to be aware of the dangers of leaving a child alone in a hot car,” said Viva Price, Safe Kids Cobb County.  “Many people are shocked to learn how hot the inside of a car can actually get. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes and keep getting hotter with each passing minute. You can only imagine what happens when the temperature outside is 100 degrees or more. And cracking the window doesn’t help.”

Heatstroke sets in when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down, and when that temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

Since 1998, at least 619 children across the United States have died in cars from heatstroke – that’s one child every 10 days.

The key to preventing these tragedies is for every parent and caregiver to understand that this can happen to anybody. It can also be avoided with a little awareness and by taking a few simple precautions.

Safe Kids is asking everyone to help protect kids by remembering to ACT:

  • A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.  Always look before you lock your car.
  • C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
  • T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, contact 770-852-3285 or please visit

Safe Kids Cobb County educates on child safety both in and around vehicles. Nearly three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly; however nine out of ten parents believe their child safety seat is securely fitted. Safe Kids Cobb County offers free child safety seat inspections to families at the Cobb County Safety Village.  Safe Kids Cobb County also provides child restraints to families in need. Families may make an appointment to utilize these services at

About Safe Kids Cobb County
Safe Kids Cobb County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Its members include Cobb County Public Safety, Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services, Cobb County Safety Village, FedEx, MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, Smyrna Fire, Puckett EMS, Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services, Georgia Child Fatality Review Board, Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

Safe Kids Cobb County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Cobb County was founded in 1991 and is led by Cobb and Douglas Public Health and WellStar Healthy Systems, Inc. For more information, visit or

About the General Motors Foundation and Safe Kids Buckle Up
Beginning in 1997, General Motors and the GM Foundation have served as Safe Kids Worldwide’s exclusive funding source and helped build the Safe Kids Buckle Up program into a multifaceted national initiative, bringing motor vehicle safety messages to children and families through community and dealer partnerships.  To date, more than 22 million people have been exposed to Safe Kids Worldwide events and community outreach efforts. Certified child passenger safety technicians working through Safe Kids coalitions have examined over 1.5 million child safety seats at over 80,000 events, and the program has provided over 550,000 seats to families in need.