Heatstroke in Cars


Heatstroke happens quickly and can be deadly. This infographic goes over the numbers on heatstroke in cars, the circumstances of deaths, clears up common misconceptions about heatstroke, and provides safety tips.

Download a PDF of the infographic for printing


10 minutes: the amount of time it takes for a car temperature to become deadly

37 children: the number that die from heatstroke in cars on average every year

57 degrees: the lowest known outside temperature at which heatstroke can occur


742 children died from heatstroke in cars from 1998 – 2017

  • 54% were forgotten by a caregiver
  • 28% were playing in a vehicle alone
  • 17% were left in the vehicle by an adult on purpose
  • 1% died under unknown circumstances


Heatstroke can happen:

  • when it’s cool outside
  • in the shade
  • with the windows open
  • to good parents



  • When there is a change in schedule (i.e., a different caregiver is dropping the child off at daycare)
  • When the caregiver is distracted or in a hurry

NEVER leave a child in a vehicle alone

  • even “just for a minute”
  • even with the windows and doors open
  • even in the garage

CHECK the back seat every time you leave the car

TELL your childcare provider to call you when your child is absent

SET UP a reminder system by leaving your phone in the back seat

ALWAYS keep car doors and trun­ks locked and keys out of reach

CALL 911 if you see a child left alone in a vehicle

Sources and Info

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Marketing. Fact Sheet: 2018 Heatstroke Prevention Campaign. https://bit.ly/2pCBW9k

To view this infographic on the web, please visit: www.childrenssafetynetwork.org/infographics/heatstroke

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Child and Adolescent Injury and Violence Prevention Resource Centers Cooperative Agreement (U49MC28422) for $1,000,000. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.