Tips to preventing child deaths in hot cars this summer

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - With temperatures hitting the 100s, safety experts are speaking out about the dangers of leaving kids behind in a hot car. 

According to the National Safety Council, 37 children die in hot cars every year. A report this month shows 42 children died from from this condition in 2017, up from 39 the previous year. 

Experts say simple habits can help prevent children from getting left behind in hot cars; potentially saving their lives. 

Kids and Cars recommends:

  • Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving  your vehicle.  Make sure no child has been left behind.  
  • Create a reminder to check the back seat. 
  • Put something you'll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park. 
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child's car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It's a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat. 
  • Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop‐off.  Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts. If your child will not be attending daycare as scheduled, it is the parent’s responsibility to call and inform the childcare provider.  If your child does not show up as scheduled; and they have not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child. (this is very similar to the ‘absence‐line’ used by most elementary, middle and high schools) 
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages.  Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.   
  • Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children. 
  • Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute. 
  • If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.  
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately.  If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible. 
  • Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.  This is when many tragedies occur. 
  • Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.  
Print this article Back to Top