While summer rages and thermometers blaze, keeping kids from overheating is a top priority. Their little bodies can’t handle the heat as well as adults, meaning they need extra care when it comes to hot–and even warm–days, especially in the moving oven known as your car. With higher temperatures occurring more days of the year across the U.S., keeping kids out of hot cars is an important issue for every family.
Sadly, the number of hot car deaths reached record levels right before the pandemic. In many cases, these deaths are tragic mistakes: a parent or caregiver forgets a child in the car or a child gets into an unlocked vehicle and can’t get out. Children are also at risk when they are left in cars at stores and other places while cars heat up to deadly temperatures in the parking lot. And these deaths aren’t just happening in extreme heat: even in temperatures as low as 57 degrees, cars act like ovens, trapping heat and creating dangerous situations in minutes.
Fewer children died in hot cars since the beginning of the pandemic, and everyone would like to see those numbers stay down. No matter where you live, keep kids safer by making sure they aren’t left in cars or get access to them.
Parents & Caregivers:
- “Look before you lock”: Put a personal item like a briefcase, wallet, or purse by the child’s car seat as a reminder to check the back seats before you get out of the vehicle.
- Never leave kids in cars, even with windows open or air conditioning running: cars heat up quickly and can reach deadly temperatures within minutes.
- Learn state laws: Some states have laws that make leaving children in cars illegal and/or allow bystanders to call 911 if they see children in vehicles without an adult. Check for state laws at KidsAndCars.org.
- Keep vehicles locked: Many of these deaths happen when children get into unlocked cars, so keep all children safer by locking every vehicle, every time.
For more resources about keeping children safe from vehicular heatstroke, visit www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/heatstroke.