Health & Safety

May 24, 2012

Critical Days of Summer

Beat the heat, check the back seat

by Senior Airman Melanie Holochwost
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
  • Never leave kids alone in a hot car, even briefly.
  • Always check the front and back seats of the car before you lock it and leave.
  • Put your purse, briefcase, or something else you need by the car seat so you don’t forget to check.
  • Always lock your car when it’s empty so children can’t get in without you knowing.
  • See a child or pet alone in a hot car? Call 911 immediately.


It is never ok to leave your child in a vehicle. If it is 83 degrees out and you have your windows rolled down two inches, the temperature inside your vehicle can reach 109 degrees in 15 minutes.

— Tech. Sgt. Dustin Bristol, 56th Fighter Wing ground safety technician


Behind the numbers 

529 - Children have died from hyperthermia in the U.S. since 1998

23 - Of which happened in Arizona

19 - States have laws specifically addressing leaving children unattended in vehicles

14 - Age of the oldest child who died from vehicular hyperthermia

<10 - Minutes a vehicle can reach life threatening levels in warm weather


Source: Jan Null, Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University



Your questions answered

Q. Why shouldn’t I leave my child in a vehicle?

A. Children and pets can die of hyperthermia if left unattended in a vehicle. Car windows act like a greenhouse, trapping sunlight and heat. Parking a car in direct sunlight in 80 degree weather can cause the temperature inside the car to get as high as 131 degrees. If it is 100 degrees, it can be as high as 171 degrees inside a vehicle. Even five minutes might be too long.

Q. How can a child die from this?

A. Children are at a greater risk for heat-related deaths because a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s. First, the child starts sweating profusely. Then, the blood pressure falls. And finally, the child slips out of consciousness, which rapidly leads to brain damage, cardiac arrest or death.

Q. Besides potentially losing a loved one, are there any other consequences an offender may face?

A. Based on intent, offenders could face charges from neglect to homicide.

Q. Have there been any previous deaths or injuries at Luke Air Force Base from this?

A. No, we haven’t had any deaths or injuries due to this at Luke. However, there have been several cases in the Phoenix area.


Source: Tech. Sgt. Dustin Bristol, 56th Fighter Wing ground safety technician

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