It's Getting Hot in Here: Hot Car Safety Tips and Precautions

Thermometer displaying hot temperatures in sun summer dayOn average, 37 children die every year from heatstroke after being left alone in a car. That’s about one child every 10 days, and most of them are under the age of 2. How does this happen?

Forgotten Children

More than half of these children are simply forgotten in the back seat. You don't think this could ever happen to you—you’re a good mother, you love your child, you could never forget something that important. Parents may frequently be sleep deprived, rushing from one location to another or driving on autopilot and though surely they have already dropped off the baby at daycare or a caregiver's house. 

It’ll Only Takes a Minute

Another 20 percent of these kids are left in the vehicle on purpose, maybe for mom to run inside the post office “real quick,” or for dad to go into the grocery to pick up just a few things. They may think it’s okay, because it’ll only take a few minutes. They may even crack the windows or park in the shade. That doesn’t matter. It can take as little as 10 minutes for a parked car to heat up enough to put your child in danger.

Keep Your Baby Safe

There are a number of ways to keep your baby safe from injury due to hot cars. First of all, never, ever, leave your child alone in the car, not for a single minute. Keep your vehicle locked when not in use, and make sure children don’t have access to keys or remotes. And, even if you’re sure you’d never forget, please choose one or more of these reminders to always be safe:

  • Check the back seat every time you exit your vehicle.
  • Place a large or brightly colored stuffed animal in your child’s car seat when not in use. Then, when you buckle in your child, move the animal to the front seat to remind you that baby is on board.
  • Install a smartphone app that knows when you’ve finished driving and reminds you to check for children in the back seat.
  • Always put something in the back seat that you can’t leave without, like your purse or briefcase, your phone, or even your shoe.

Keep other children safe, too, by being mindful of the vehicles around you. It doesn’t take any extra time to glance in the back seats of the cars you walk by in the parking lot. If you see a child left alone, call 911 immediately.