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Preventing Heatstroke

Did You Know?

  • A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body.
  • Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in every month of the year in nearly all 50 states.
  • More than half of heatstroke deaths occurred when a distracted caregiver forgot a quiet child was in the vehicle.
  • Creating reminders and habits is an effective way to ensure that a child is not forgotten in the vehicle.

Working For Change

To help prevent tragic and unnecessary deaths due to heatstroke, Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors (GM) teamed up to launch Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car, an education and awareness campaign geared toward parents and caregivers.

With the support of GM, Safe Kids and its state-based coalitions are mobilizing their network of partners – police and fire departments, hospitals and doctors’ offices, government agencies, childcare centers, businesses and others – to alert citizens to the dangers that hot vehicles pose to children.

The Campaign Encourages Everyone to ACT

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Always lock your doors and trunks – even in your driveway. And keep your keys and key fobs out of the reach of kids.
  • Create reminders. Place something you'll need at your next stop - like a briefcase or cell phone - next to the child safety seat.  It may seem simple, but can be a helpful reminder on a chaotic day.  
  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, take action. Call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations.

In addition to safety messages and events, Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car offers the Badge of Courage award, a recognition program for heroes who take action to prevent unattended child injuries and fatalities from heatstroke.

Safe Kids also supports NHTSA’s heatstroke education campaign, “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock,” and welcomes the increased national coordination on the issue. In 2012, Safe Kids partnered with NHTSA Administrator David Strickland to host news conferences around the country to raise awareness about heatstroke in children and urge parents and caregivers to ACT to help prevent future tragedies. In 2016, we participated and supported NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind’s “Safe Cars Save Lives Bus Tour” to raise awareness. 

Public Policy

Increasing and reinforcing awareness of the dangers of leaving a child alone in a vehicle stands as the most effective remedy to heatstroke, and our policy team is working to make sure NHTSA has the proper authority and funding to advance a heatstroke awareness campaign and educate families about this issue.


Our work to prevent heatstroke is made possible by General Motors, widely recognized for their continuing commitment and dedication to children and families. 

Additional Resources

We also offer the following tools to teach and remind families about heatstroke: