Wyoming Comes 51st in Child Vehicular Heatstroke Deaths

Upon researching the new 2017 GMC Acadia ‘rear seat reminder’, some harrowing statistics came up”. Each year in the U.S., about half of the children under the age of 14 who die of in-vehicle heatstroke, do so as a result of being forgotten” 1. Wyoming comes 51st on this list with no vehicular deaths (between 1998 and 2016) as a result of heatstroke. Nebraska comes 38th. The worst state is Arkansas with 16 child deaths. It’s not like Wyoming doesn’t reach high temperatures in the summer either, and whilst it is really difficult to write about this being a mother, this is great for WY, but is still a problem and could still potentially happen.

In 10 minutes, the temperature inside the vehicle can rise 19°F. In 2-4 hrs the temperature can rise as much as 55°F. Cracking the windows has less than a 3°F difference, ie. leaving the windows open a little doesn’t help.

ANIMATION  (Courtesy GM and Jan Null, San Jose State University)

Wyoming does not have a law relating to leaving a child unattended. Neither does Arkansas (why not?) but Nebraska does. 2.

The 2017 GMC Acadia

GMC came up with an industry first design called the ‘rear seat reminder’. It alerts drivers to check the rear seat before exiting the vehicle. The vehicle does not know if a person or item is in the back seat, but the alert is activated if the back doors are opened 10 minutes before it’s started or whilst driving. On exiting the vehicle, 5 alarms will sound and bring up a message on the driver display with a reminder to check the back seats. This is a standard feature on all 2017 GMC Acadia’s.

This doesn’t solve the problem of children being accidentally locked in vehicles, though. With newer vehicles, this shouldn’t be an issue with keyless entry. There are also ‘remote lock and unlock’ apps available on smartphones assuming the phone isn’t left in the vehicle. Then there are also third party companies associated with manufacturers such as OnStar and UConnect who can unlock vehicles via satellite connection. These features may require subscriptions for long term use. Manufacturers usually offer a free trial period with the purchase of a new vehicle.


“Source:  Jan Null, CCM, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San Jose State University, http://noheatstroke.org“.