Since 1998, 937 children have died from Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH), while this number is small regarding childhood mortality, it is still an important concern because the deaths of these chi..
Since 1998, 937 children have died from Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH), while this number is small regarding childhood mortality, it is still an important concern because the deaths of these children could have been prevented. Previous research has analyzed the deaths that occurred when children were left in the vehicle knowingly and unknowingly but does not discuss the cases where children gained access to the vehicle. The goal of this research is to determine what went wrong in the cases where children gained access to the vehicle and what parents were doing at the time of the incident, to understand if it could be prevented. We examined 128 cases of PVH from noheatstroke.org, that occurred since 2000, where child gained access to the vehicle on their own without parent/caregiver’s knowledge, resulting in the child’s death from hyperthermia. In fatal cases we know that the average age of children left in vehicles is 1.11 years old (M= 1.11, SD= 1.25) while the average age of children who gain access to vehicle on their own is 3.47 years old (M=3.47, SD= 2.20). In these cases where the child gained access to the vehicle, the majority of parents were either napping/sleeping or inside the home and unaware, while only 2 of these cases involved parental drug use. This research suggests that this could happen to anyone with children. Since the average age of the children gaining access to vehicles is older than those left in vehicles and in a third of the cases caregivers were home or asleep at the time, it could be advantageous to educate children about the dangers of PVH as well as caregivers.