Child Safety in Hot Cars

By Nicole Donnelly, Macaroni Kid Annapolis July 15, 2020

On average, 39 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Nearly every state has experienced at least one death since 1998, and in 2018, a record number of 53 children died after being left in a hot vehicle, closely followed in 2019 with 52 deaths.

We read the news articles and watch the stories on the evening news. Many of us are appalled. How could a parent forget their own child in the back seat? We would never do that. It could never happen to us. Right?

Truth is, it can happen to anyone. Even you. It's a very real, brain-related phenomenon that happens when your routine/habit is changed, which you can read more about here

But there are ways to combat it. Ways you can do your best to make sure it never happens to you and your family.

With the weather really starting to heat up, here are five simple tips to help make sure your child does not become part of this statistic.

  1. Ask your child's caregiver or school to call you if your child is not dropped off at the regular time. Ask them not to assume that you will call later in the day to explain an absence. A timely call can save a life.
  2. Throw your left shoe in the back seat. When you get to work, getting your shoe from the back will serve as a reminder of your child in their seat.
  3. Put the diaper bag in the front seat. Chances are that when you see that visual cue, you'll be reminded of your precious cargo in the back.
  4. Put your purse, briefcase, or cell phone in the back seat. This can compliment #2 as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
  5. Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car. It may take some time for this to become part of your routine, but once you get it down, it'll become second nature.

It is important to remember is that when a car is parked in the sun, the temperature can climb quickly. At 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car parked in direct sunlight can climb to over 100 degrees in as little as 10 minutes.

Many parents have come up with their own ways to make sure their child is not left in a hot, unattended car. Whatever you do, make sure it breaks you from mindlessly completing your daily routine and forces you to remember that your child is in the car too.

Looking for more ways to keep your family safe?  Download our FREE Family Safety Binder today!