ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State agencies offer guidance to prevent heatstroke as temperatures are expected in the high 80s to above 90 degrees across the state. New Yorkers are reminded to follow extra caution and never leave children, vulnerable adults, or pets alone in a vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 23 children died last year after being left in hot cars. Since 1998, there have been 906 such fatalities in the United States they noted.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said temperatures can rise quickly, even with the windows left partially open. Unfortunately, each year, children die after being left unattended in a motor vehicle which can be prevented by following a few simple steps.

A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. Even in cooler temperatures, a vehicle can heat up to a dangerous degree very quickly.

According to NHTSA, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes which is enough to kill a child left alone inside.  An outside temperature in the mid-60s can cause a vehicle’s inside temperature to rise above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, they noted.

NHTSA provides these steps for parents, caregivers, and passersby on how to prevent a child from suffering heatstroke.

Parents and Caregivers 

  • Never leave a child or vulnerable adult in a vehicle unattended.
    • Even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
  • Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away.
    • Train yourself to Park, Look, Lock, or always ask yourself “Where’s Baby?”.
  • Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock.
  • Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind yourself that a child is in the back seat.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call if your child doesn’t show up for care as expected. 

Everyone — Including Bystanders

  • If you see a child or vulnerable adult alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911.
  • A person in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
  • Always lock your car doors and trunk, year-round, so children cannot get into unattended vehicles.
  • Store car keys out of a child’s reach, and teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.

A child may be attracted to a car as a place to play, and they may not understand the dangers an enclosed car can present or how to open the doors if they lock. Pets can also suffer or die from a vehicle’s inside temperature if left unattended.