Home and Community Safety & Health Safety Driving Articles mentioned in FSH Instagram posts

Kids in hot cars – help prevent a tragedy


Photo: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Even on cloudy days, the heat trapped inside your vehicle can reach life-threatening temperatures – and leaving the windows open doesn’t help. This means that no child should ever be left alone inside a vehicle.

Since 1998, more than 900 children have died of heatstroke after being left in a hot car, according to the National Safety Council. Of those incidents, 53% involved a parent or caregiver forgetting the child was in the vehicle.

The council advises parents and caregivers to “look before you lock”:

  • Make it a routine to open the back door of your car every time you park.
  • When you’re driving with a child in the back seat, after you correctly buckle them in, put something in the seat next to them that you’ll need once you reach your destination. Examples include your cellphone, an employee badge or your purse. This will help you remember to open the back door. Ask your babysitter or child care provider to call you if your child doesn’t arrive as scheduled.
  • If you change your routine, such as a grandparent dropping off your child at daycare instead of you, make sure you and the other person communicate to confirm the drop-off was made.
  • Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat. Place it on the front passenger seat as a reminder when the child is riding with you.
  • Set the alarm on your cellphone as a reminder to drop your child off at daycare. Select an alarm song/sound that’s different from the other alert sounds on your device.

The council offers a free training course on the dangers of kids in hot cars. Find it at carseateducation.org/product/kids-in-hot-cars.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)