Nation's Highway Safety Chief Discusses Ways to Prevent North Carolina Child Fatalities in Hot Cars

| Washington, DC

Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Contact: Derrell Lyles
Phone: 202-366-9550

NHTSA Administrator Strickland, Child Safety Advocates and Health Professionals Highlight Dangers of Child Deaths and Injuries from Vehicular Heat Stroke

Raleigh -– With North Carolina in the midst of one of the worst heat waves on record, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (NHTSA) David Strickland hosted a public meeting on hyperthermia in Raleigh today. The "town hall meeting"brought together area health professionals, law officers, and concerned residents to discuss strategies to prevent heat stroke deaths and injuries to young children left unattended in vehicles.

"The greatest tragedy is that child deaths and injuries from hot cars are entirely preventable -- that's why we need to work together to have an immediate impact in our communities,"said Administrator Strickland.

Children left alone in vehicles during hot weather are at risk of a serious injury or death from hyperthermia. According to NHTSA research, hyperthermia is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of fourteen. Reports by the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences show that nationwide 49 children under the age of 14 years died in 2010 due to hyperthermia, with 22 deaths so far in 2011.

Today's meeting comes on the heels of a first of its kind roundtable convened by NHTSA this past July and is part of a series of public town hall meetings and other activities the agency is hosting in some of the states hardest hit by hyperthermia deaths. The series will engage concerned parents, advocacy groups, automotive experts, and health and law enforcement professionals to discuss the best ways to raise awareness and to propose strategies for preventing these tragic events. Meetings have already taken place in Texas and Georgia. Other meetings are scheduled for Florida, California and Nevada.

For NHTSA research on the issue of hyperthermia, click here.

To view Department of Geosciences data, click here.

Safety tips for parents and caregivers are available at