Preventing Heatstroke in Children

By: Renown Wellness Team

August 09, 2022

Baby in carseat

The summer is here, and it is time to take action. The heat can be dangerous for kids, so make sure that you are aware of the signs of heatstroke and know how to prevent it. 

Did you know heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash related fatalities in children? “On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.” (Safe Kids Worldwide,” 2022, para.1) 

Babies are at higher risk for heatstroke than adults, as they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults can. They also do not have the same understanding of how hot the environment is and may not be able to communicate that they need to be taken out of the car.  

Here are eight simple tips to keep your baby cool in the back seat: 

  1. In hot weather, it is important to keep your baby cool and hydrated by using a car seat cover or towel over them to reflect the sun's rays. It is important to dress your baby in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs.
  2. Make sure that your car is well ventilated and use a towel or blanket to create an air gap between your baby and the seat. This will help with air circulation, as well as provide insulation from hot surfaces.
  3. Keep an eye on your baby's skin color. If it starts looking too red or flushed, it may be time to get somewhere cooler.
  4. Keep the temperature at a comfortable temperature for you, not for your child.
  5. Keep windows cracked open for ventilation and make sure that there is nothing blocking the flow of air from entering or exiting the vehicle.
  6. Dress your infant appropriately for their environment with appropriate head and neck coverings, keeping them cool as well as protected from sunburns.
  7. Ensure that you have enough fluids on hand to last an hour before getting out of the car or use bottled water if possible.
  8. Never leave your child unattended in a car. 


If you suspect heatstroke in someone, especially a child, take the following measures: 

  • Call 911 immediately. 
  • Cool the victim – Get the person to a shady area, remove restrictive clothing and cover skin with sheets soaked in ice-water, and place ice packs in the arm pits and groin. 
  • Have the victim drink cool fluids, preferably an electrolyte-containing sports drink. 
  • Monitor body temperature with a thermometer, but stop cooling efforts after temperature has dropped to 102.


Additional Resources: 

Baby Safe Class 

This class helps prepare parents for emergencies that may occur in baby’s first year. Along with car seat safety and basic baby proofing, discussion will include prevention and treatment of common injuries. 

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