November 28, 2020

Report: Record number of children killed in hot cars last year

The National Safety Council (NSC) reported this week a grim statistic — last year 52 children died in hot cars.

It was the deadliest year on record in the past 20 years. Since 1998, almost 800 children have died from vehicular heatstroke; 24% occurred in employer parking lots while the parent or caregiver was at work. Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these preventable deaths.

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

NSC 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 left 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.

Leaving a child in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand, is never safe.