Kids & Hot Cars
In 2018, 52 children died in hot cars around the country. It was the deadliest year on record in the past 20 years. Since 1998, almost 800 children in the US have died from vehicular heatstroke, 24% occurred in employer parking lots while the parent or caregiver was at work.
You might be asking yourself, "How does this happen?" Even on mild or cloudy days, temperatures inside vehicles can reach life-threatening levels. Leaving windows slightly open doesn't help. Children should never be left unattended or be able to get inside a vehicle.
Three primary circumstances resulting in deaths of children in hot cars are:
- A caregiver forgetting a child in a vehicle
- The child gaining access to the vehicle
- Someone knowingly leaving a child in the vehicle
The National Safety Council advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Place a purse, briefcase or even a shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last look before walking away. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access, and teach them that cars are not play areas. There is no safe time to leave a child in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand. If you think it's a solution to leave the vehicle running with the A/C on, think again - vehicles can be quickly stolen with your child in it. We encourage bystanders to call 911 if they see children unattended locked in vehicles. You might be saving a life.