The dangers of leaving kids in hot cars


Leaving young children unattended inside a vehicle puts them at risk of becoming sick, unconscious or dying, even on what can seem like a relatively mild day. Inside the vehicle, things can heat up very quickly for anyone unable to get out.

Health Canada says outside air temperatures as low as 23 C can climb to more than 50 C inside a vehicle, which is life-threatening for anyone left inside. Imagine how much hotter it can get during extreme heat, where temperatures soar to 30 C to 40 C. High humidity levels can trigger a further increase in body temperature and push the heat-health risks higher.

Did you know?

Extreme heat affects young children faster and more dramatically because of their smaller size. Young children (and older adults) cannot regulate their body temperature as efficiently, which leaves them vulnerable to heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when our core body temperature reaches 40 C and this can be fatal. In a small, closed environment like a vehicle, our bodies, especially small or frail ones, can go into shock very quickly, causing circulation to vital organs to fail. In other words, it can only take a few minutes to lose someone in our care.

Health Canada is reminding parents and caregivers this summer that it is never safe to leave people and pets inside a vehicle, even with the window down. Don’t run that quick errand leaving loved ones unattended – the stakes are too high.

As our climate continues to change, Environment Canada expects increased numbers of days in Canada with temperatures above 30 C, increasing the health risks of extreme heat. Remember, heat illnesses and heat stroke can be prevented.

Health Canada has tips for avoiding heat illnesses at Just search for extreme heat or call 1-866- 225-0709 for free brochures.


Heat risk: did you know?
Never leave young children inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight. When the outside air temperature is 23 C, the temperature inside a vehicle can be dangerously hot, reaching more than 50 C. article-end-jj15-50px

Source: Health Canada,

Photo: © AGorohov / phakimata