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A Parent’s Guide to Summer Heat Safety

Elsie Aniekwe4 years ago

In the long days of summer, anyone who spends time outdoors is at risk for heat-related injury and illness. Unfortunately, children are even more susceptible to heat injuries than adults. According to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, children produce more heat than adults but they also adapt more slowly to their environment. This makes heat illnesses more dangerous for kids.

Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke

  • The most common heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke.
  • The least dangerous of these injuries is heat cramps which are painful muscle cramps caused from sweating in intense heat.
  • Heat exhaustion is more serious and is caused by dehydration in intense heat or lack of fluids in hot weather.
  • Heat stroke is the most dangerous of these injuries and occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat. This is a serious illness which requires immediate medical attention.

Hot Car Heat Injuries

When children are left inside a hot car, heat injuries can be swift and deadly. According to, on average, 38 children die each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.

  • According to San Francisco State University's Department of Geosciences, 33 children died in unattended, overheated vehicles in 2011.
  • This year alone, 9 children have died from hypothermia or heat stroke in hot cars.
  • Since 1998, 536 kids have died from hypothermia after being left in cars:
  • 52% were due to children being forgotten by their caregivers.
  • 30% of deaths were caused by children playing in unattended vehicles.
  • 17% of children were intentionally left in the car by the adult.
  • More than half of these fatalities were children under two years old.

Avoiding Heat-Related Illness

Common Signs of Heat-Related Illness

  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Dry skin
  • Weakness
  • Paleness

Outdoor Heat Safety Tips

  • Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
  • Wear light colored, light weight clothing.
  • Stay inside during the hottest times of the day.
  • Take regular breaks from outdoor activity.

Vehicle Heat Safety Tips

  • Never leave a child in a hot car.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times.
  • Keep car keys out of reach of children (avoid trunk death).
  • When a child is missing, check vehicles and trunks immediately.
Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney

At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious injury, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact us