Yesterday, a child in Texas and one in Connecticut died after overheating in a hot car. These deaths followed similar incidents from earlier in the week where a 17-month-old child died in Florida after the boy was left unattended in a parked car, and in Louisiana where emergency responders had to break a window of a parked car to rescue a child who had also been left alone.

According to national statistics, an average of 37 children die each year from being left unattended in vehicles. Between 1998 and 2018, 744 children died; in Louisiana, 27 pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths were recorded in that timeframe. There are already 27 car-heat-deaths in the U.S. this summer.

Just today, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness issued an Excessive Heat Warning that temperatures today and through the weekend are reaching extreme levels.

Because of actual and potential tragedies, a number of Louisiana state agencies have joined together to remind families to be extra careful when traveling with children and pets in vehicles. The 10 state agencies include the Governor’s Office, the State Fire Marshal, the Children’s Trust Fund, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, the Highway Safety Commission and the departments of Education, Environmental Quality, Children & Family Services, Transportation and Health.

Using the hashtag #BeatTheHeatLA, these agencies are using their social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs and podcasts to spread the word about the dangers posed by leaving a child or pet unattended in a hot car.

Facts About Hot Cars
  • In only 10 minutes, a vehicle can heat up 20 degrees and top 110 degrees Fahrenheit on days when it is only 60 degrees outside.
  • Leaving a window cracked or partially rolled down does not help lower the heat.
  • Heat stroke begins when the body reaches 104 degrees.
  • The body temperature of a child can increase three to five times faster than an adult.
Dr. Parham Jaberi, assistant state health officer with the Louisiana Department of Health, said after two weeks of daily reminders, the “Beat the Heat LA” message is more important than ever before.

“This is especially important as weather forecasts are predicting continued high, dangerous heat. That’s why messages about car safety is so important, and why we are pleased organizations are working together to promote this reminder,” said Jaberi. “We are hoping many people will see and heed the message to prevent such a tragedy this summer in Louisiana.”
To see, and share, any of the campaign's daily posts, visit any of the above agencies' social media channels.