Published: APRIL 30, 2021
Hawaiʻi Police Department
Traffic Services Section
Torey D. Keltner, Program Manager
Phone: (808) 961-2305
As the weather in Hawai‘i heats up, the Hawai‘i Police Department wants everyone to be aware of how dangerous a hot car can be for a child. On an 80-degree day a vehicle can reach over 100 degrees in 15 minutes. That temperature will continue to climb and reach over 120 degrees in one hour.
From 1998 through 2020, 882 children have died nationwide due to vehicular heatstroke. The children that died from vehicular heatstroke ranged in age from five days to 14 years with more than half of the deaths, 54 percent, under two years of age.
When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined media reports of those 882 pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths, they discerned the following circumstances:
- 52.9% – Forgotten by caregiver (467 children)
- 25.6% – Gained access to the car on their own (227)
- 19.7% – Knowingly left by caregiver (173)
- 1.7 % – Unknown (15)
Sadly, all these deaths could have been prevented. According to researchers at San Jose State University, who manage the website noheatstroke.org, as of April 29, 2021:
- Child heatstroke fatalities in 2021: 1
- Child heatstroke fatalities in 2020: 24
- Child heatstroke fatalities in 2019: 53
- Child heatstroke fatalities in 2018: 53
- National average of child heatstroke fatalities per year since 1998: 38
All children are precious and our Hawai’i keiki are very special to our community. While our lives are very busy, we need to take the time to take care of our young ones. Don’t be in too much of a hurry and remember to check for your keiki before leaving your car. Double check your back seat since your baby or young child may be quiet and sleeping. More than half of the children who died from heat stroke were just forgotten in a hot vehicle.
Please be sure to “Look Before You Lock.”