Santé Montréal


- Public, Children's Health, Summer, Prevention, News, Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)

Never leave a child alone in a car

Évitez une tragédie! Ne laissez jamais un enfant sans surveillance dans une voiture

Things you can do to avoid the worst

When it’s hot, the interior of a car heats up rapidly. Even if a window is rolled down a few centimetres, when it’s above  20 ºC outside, the temperature inside the car can reach deadly levels within minutes.

A child’s body temperature rises quickly. Infants and children under 4 years are the most vulnerable to heatstroke, since their bodies absorb more heat than adults’. If you leave a young child in an overheated vehicle, the child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than that of an adult; this can cause permanent injury or even death.

To make sure children are safe in summer and all year long, stay vigilant. Incorporating small measures into your daily routine can help prevent this type of tragedy.

A few tips to follow

Montréal Children's Hospital’s Trauma Centre offers tips and tricks to add to your routine:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. 
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open. 
  • Make a habit of looking in the front and back  of the vehicle before locking the doors and walking away.
  • Make sure your childcare provider knows to call you if your child has not been dropped off at the usual time.
  • Always place an item (purse, bag, etc.) in the backseat so that you have to open the door every time you leave the vehicle.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in your child’s car seat when it is not occupied. When your child is in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. This is a visual reminder: any time the stuffed animal is in the front seat, you know your child is in the back seat.
  • When you arrive at your destination, avoid any distractions including talking on the phone or texting while you exit your car.

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call the police. If the child is in distress due to heat, get him or her out of the car as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 right away.


Public, Children's Health, Summer, Prevention, News, Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)

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Last Update : 01 July 2020