How does KY rank in hot car deaths?

Cases already popping up around the nation

Nationally, we’ve already seen 10 children die after being left in hot cars.

Since 1998, nearly 700 children nationwide — 17 in Kentucky — have died from heat stroke while left unattended in vehicles. The commonwealth ranks among the worst (42) in that category. Indiana has reported nine deaths during that time, placing the Hoosier state 19th.

“Most people think it has to be summer heat for hot car-related deaths — that isn’t true,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness. “And with temperatures already above normal this year, we could be in line to see even more tragedies.”

Rengers said it takes just 10 minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to rise up to 20 degrees. On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a closed car quickly can exceed 100 degrees. If a child is left inside even for a few minutes, the consequences can be deadly.

And it doesn’t even need to be that hot for a child to die in a car. An infant in North Carolina died in a hot car when it was only 66 degrees outside.

Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness

Get health, wellness and safety tips for the family.

More than half of child heat stroke deaths occur because parents or caregivers accidentally leave the child in the car. There have been countless other close calls where a passerby took action or a parent realized their mistake in the nick of time.

If you’re driving with a child in the vehicle, here are three tips to help ensure you don’t end up in this tragic situation:

  1. Choose an item that is needed at your next stop — a cellphone or purse — and place it on the floor in the back seat, in front of the child.
  2. Set the alarm on your cellphone as a reminder to drop off your child at school or day care.
  3. Set your computer calendar to remind you with a question such as, “Did you drop off at child care today?”