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Minerva Pediatrica 2020 February;72(1):55-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.05125-3

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Forgotten children in parked vehicles: a review of Italian fatalities

Gitana SCOZZARI, Fabrizio BERT , Maria R. GUALANO, Roberta SILIQUINI

Department of Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Turin, Turin, Italy



In recent years, Italy has reported the deaths of children who have died of hyperthermia after having been left inadvertently in a car seat. Although very rare, these preventable deaths have dramatic and long-lasting consequences for families, communities and public opinion. The aim of the paper is to review the available data on the deaths of children in vehicles by heatstroke in Italy and to discuss how to promote strategies aimed at avoiding these preventable fatalities. We carried out a search using the website research tool for the five most widely read Italian newspapers and an internet search on Google and Yahoo’s Italian websites, to identify lethal cases of children left unintentionally in a parked motor vehicle. We identified eight deaths, occurring between 1998 and 2017 in Italy. All incidents occurred in the period between May and July when the mean daily external temperature was between 16 and 27.5 °C. Five girls and three boys between 11 and 24 months in age were involved, and in all cases the caregiver concerned was a parent. The Public Health community must vigorously promote research by auto manufacturers to develop technological solutions such as visual and audio warning systems aimed at reducing the possibility that a child be inadvertently left inside a parked vehicle.


KEY WORDS: Fever; Heat stroke; Automobiles; Motor vehicles; Child

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