MedStar Warns How Easy It Is for Children to Die in Hot Cars

For some parts of North Texas, it will feel like it's 108 degrees Wednesday and as the temperatures continue to climb, so does the danger for children left in hot vehicles.

A child can have a heat stroke in a matter of minutes. Since April, 21 children in the U.S. have died because they were left in a car. Four of those were in Texas.

Texas leads the nation in hot car deaths with 131 child deaths between 1990 and 2019.

According to MedStar in Fort Worth, even the best caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping baby in a car and the end result can be injury or even death.

The EMS medical director for MedStar wanted show people how to save a child from becoming another statistic. He said a child's body is just not developed enough to handle the extreme heat.

They hosted a demonstration at MedStar's headquarters in Fort Worth Tuesday to show how to immediately get a child out of a car and begin CPR.

It's all about raising awareness of this preventable tragedy.

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition and it's the last stage of heat-related injuries, after heat cramps and heat exhaustion. It happens when the body's temperature reaches 104 degrees.

Even though temperatures have been lower than average across North Texas this summer, it doesn't take triple-digit heat for a vehicle to warm quickly.

And MedStar said cracking a window doesn't make much of a difference.

"Eighty-eight percent of the children who die in hot cars die when they're under 4 years old. Fifty-four percent of the children are under 2. Fifty-six percent of the children who die in a hot car were unknowingly left in the car and you might say, 'Gosh, how could a parent or a caregiver forget that your child is in the back of the car?'" said Matt Zavadsky with MedStar. "Anybody who has been a parent of a child knows that life changes dramatically. When you have a child, you're sleep deprived, you've got a thousand things to think about, in addition to all the things that go on with life in general. So sadly, it does happen."

Hot Car Safety


According to the National Safety Council, if it's 95 degrees outside the internal temperature of a car could climb to 129 degrees in 30 minutes. After just 10 minutes, temperatures inside could reach 114 degrees.


A child's body temperature heats up three to five times faster than an adult and heatstroke can begin when a person's core body temperature reaches 104 degrees. A core temperature of 107 degrees is lethal, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.


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