For Immediate Release: July 13, 2010

Contacts: Kristin Milam or Kerry Hall: 919-807-6011

Hot Car Deaths Rise with the Temperatures

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin and Safe Kids N.C. remind parents to protect kids this summer.

RALEIGH -- It is shaping up to be a particularly deadly year for children dying from hyperthermia in hot cars. On average, 35 to 40 children across the country die from heat exposure in vehicles each year; there have already been at least 21 such deaths in 2010, with the most in the first six months of the year since researchers began collecting data on the subject in 1998.* [*statistics from San Francisco State University, Department of Geosciences.]

In the past five years, at least ten children in North Carolina have died from hyperthermia after being trapped in hot vehicles.

"These deaths are preventable," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, state chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "A child should never be unattended in a car, for any length of time or at any time of year. We need to work to reverse this tragic trend."

With its soaring temperatures, July is historically the deadliest month for child fatalities in hot cars, but hyperthermia can occur even on days with mild 70 degree temperatures. The temperature in a closed vehicle can rise about 20 degrees in 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes. Cracking a window has little effect.

Safe Kids North Carolina offers these safety tips for all parents and caregivers: