In-Car Deaths of Children May Rise Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Consumer Reports looked at why the deadly issue could be worse than usual this summer

NBCUniversal, Inc.

On average, 39 children in the U.S. die of heatstroke each year after being left in a hot car. Consumer Reports found this year, because of coronavirus, the risk may be even higher.

The first child to die of heatstroke in a car in 2020 was a 4-year-old boy on April 25, who apparently snuck outside and into the family car unnoticed.

Even on days with mild temperatures, the heat inside a vehicle can reach dangerous levels within an hour, posing significant health risks to small children or pets left inside.

Because everyone is home more often than usual, parents need to make sure that their keys are always out of reach of little hands and that their vehicles are locked at all times.

And restrictions at some stores may tempt some parents to leave their child in the car to decrease the child’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 while they shop.

But even with the window cracked open or the vehicle parked in the shade, the interior temperatures within the car can reach dangerous levels in a short period of time.

Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults’. That’s why it’s never safe for them to be left unattended inside a closed vehicle, even if you think it’s not that hot out. It affects them differently, and it’s never safe.

Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents to always check their pool and car first if a child is missing.

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