C2 car lot colors
Your car can be deadly, even when parked
01:12 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

On average, 37 children die each year after being left in a car

Legislation, technologies are not enough, expert advises

CNN  — 

As of July 31, the number of children across the United States who have died of heatstroke when left in hot cars was at a record high.

This year, 29 children have died of heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. That’s more than at this point in previous years, according to Jan Null, a certified consulting meteorologist with the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University.

This “is the highest we’ve ever had,” said Null, who logs these and other statistics on noheatstroke.org.

The previous record as of July 31 was 28 deaths in 2010, he explained, “a year where we ended up with 49 deaths for the year.”

The past week’s total of 11 deaths is not a record, said Null, who gathers his numbers primarily from media reports because official sources are less accurate, due to the use of codes.

“If it’s not coded exactly right, it doesn’t get counted,” he said. Official reports come up with only about half the numbers you find in the media, he explained.

“All my numbers are conservative,” said Null, who has been a meteorologist for 40 years. “There are several more each year that go under the radar.”

DIY data

Null began to track these sad occurrences in 2001, when local media asked him, after the death of a child in a car, how hot it could have gotten inside. Not knowing the answer, he said he’d look around and found nothing, so he decided to conduct his own research.