Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke: Review of Literature and Preventative Technologies
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Pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH) was the leading cause of nontraffic child fatalities in the United States in 2018. On average, there are 38 PVH fatalities in the U.S. each year, for a total of 905 child fatalities on record and thousands of non-fatal injuries. PVH can occur when a child gains access to a vehicle without parental knowledge or is intentionally or unintentionally left in the vehicle, and the temperature in the vehicle rises to a dangerous level from ambient heating. To safeguard against children being left behind in vehicles, legislation has been introduced in Congress to require rear seat reminder technologies (RSRTs) in passenger vehicles of less than 10,000 pounds. RSRTs provide audible and visual reminders to drivers when they leave their vehicles to check the rear seat for a child. This report reviews the literature on PVH, discusses both original equipment manufacturer and aftermarket RSRTs, and offers guidelines on how to make future RSRTs more effective and consumer friendly.