It’s only mid-July and already 21 children under the age of five have died from heatstroke in parked cars across America.

Child safety advocacy groups urge parents and caregivers to take extra precautions this summer to help prevent child fatalities resulting from leaving kids unattended in hot parked cars.

In the past decade, approximately 600 children have perished from hyperthermia, otherwise known as heatstroke.

Of the 21 deaths reported through July 17, 2013, 16 were under the age of two and seven were age one year and under. States with the most confirmed or probable child heatstroke deaths include: Florida (4), Texas (3), Virginia (3), Alabama (2), and one each in nine other states (California, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma and North Carolina).

Outside temperatures ranged from 76 degrees to over 100 degrees, but temperatures inside the vehicles often exceeded 125 degrees.

How can such a tragedy happen? Here are the details of a few of these unfortunate child deaths:

Safety recommendations

It only takes a few seconds to thoroughly check a vehicle before leaving it, but those few seconds could ultimately mean the difference between a child’s life and death. Safety experts recommend the following precautions:

For more on heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles, click here to check out the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University, which keeps track of these statistics.


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(c) 2013, High Gear Media.