Every year a lot of children die from heat stroke and hyperthermia because they have been left unattended in closed automobiles. These fatalities have augmented slightly in the past decade, but they are a poor recognized type of vehicle injury and little research has been done to discover the circumstances surrounding the fatal event. Two factors make children more prone to hyperthermia than adults: children have a greater surface area body mass ratio than adults and their thermoregulation is less efficient than adults. A scientific explanation about how it can happen that a parent leaves his child unattended in the car could be related to the Working Memory (WM): stress increases interference from irrelevant information, impairing selective attention and WM and influencing behavior. In the last two years in Italy 16 cases of child hyperthermia due to abandonment in motor vehicle were identified. These findings suggest that educational programs and literature for parents regarding automobile safety should include information about the potential dangers of heat stress, in fact, as these events are mostly unintentional, legislative efforts may be vain.
- Unattended children