Car Safety

38 children a year, on average, die from heatstroke after being left in or having gained access to hot vehicles.

Cars can be unsafe, and not just because of car crashes. Children left in a hot car can die from overheating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates a closed car, sitting in the summer sun, quickly turns into an oven, with temperatures rising from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes and to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes. In addition, children can be injured while getting out of moving cars or be run or backed over by motor vehicles.  To assist in keeping your young children safe in and around cars:

Unattended child deaths in vehicles can occur on days with relatively mild temperatures (e.g., 72 degrees) because vehicles can reach life-threatening temperatures very rapidly.

  • Never leave children alone in a parked vehicle, even when they are asleep or restrained and even if the windows are open.
  • Always lock your car and keep the keys out of children's reach. Make a habit of looking in the vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.
  • Ensure adequate supervision when children are playing in areas near parked motor vehicles
  • If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle such as placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle.

If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.