Kids Left in Hot Car: Dangers and How to Prevent It
Is It Possible to Die in Hot Cars?
Adults, pets, and children have died in hot cars. The top three causes of fatality due to hot cars are:
- When an adult driver forgets that a child is in the car
- When an adult driver leaves a child in the car knowingly, even for a short period
- When children get into an unlocked car without an adult’s knowledge
Recent studies have revealed that infants and toddlers are the most prevalent age group of children who succumb to heat-related deaths in vehicles. These little ones are at the greatest risk because they have difficulty regulating their core body temperature. As the heat levels increase, their little bodies have a hard time coping.
Additionally, it gets hotter faster inside of a car than outside on any given day. For example, a car parked in an outside temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit for less than an hour will have internal temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 10 minutes. This excessive temperature rise inside a vehicle can overwhelm even an adult and cause vehicular heatstroke, which can prove fatal.
What You Can Do to Prevent Child Hot Car Deaths
The first step to preventing deaths from kids left in a hot car is for attentive parents to understand that they are not immune from memory lapses. Prospective memory failures can happen to anyone, even the most attentive caregiver. For example, there have been cases where parents forgot to drop their child off at daycare, continued driving to work, and left their baby or child in the hot car.
The key to avoiding these tragedies lies with child-centered strategies and safety tips that involve routine or prompt reminders.
1. Never leave children unattended, even for short periods
To be safe, never leave your children alone in the car for any amount of time. The inside of vehicles can quickly heat up to lethal levels and cause vehicular heatstroke, even on mild-temperature days. This scenario alone has caused countless hot car deaths.
2. Always place keys away from children’s reach
Children are curious by nature. They can reach your car keys and lock themselves inside a car with a rising temperature and no air conditioning. Children have died from vehicular heatstroke in these scenarios, even if the outside temperature is mild.
As enhanced safety precautions, always lock the doors of your parked car to prevent your children from getting into the vehicle without your families' knowledge. Make it a point as parents to teach your children that cars are not a play area.
3. Always check your car before you lock it
Make it a habit to check your car every time before you lock it. Open the front or back door and look into the back seat to ensure that you leave no one behind. Even if you do not have a child in your family, you may have a pet, and this habit could save their life.
4. Place important things in the back seat
Place something that you or your child cannot do without in the back seat when traveling with your child. These items could include you:
- Cell phone
- ID badge
- One shoe
You could also place your child's favorite comfort blanket or stuffed animal in this category. This way if you do not notice your child crying for their favorite stuffed animal or comfort blanket as they normally do, or if you are missing any of your essential items, the memory triggers will force you to go back to the back seat for them and your forgotten child.
5. Do something if you see a baby or child alone in a vehicle
If you see a child inside a car alone, make sure they are okay, even if they look okay. This action alone could how many reduce kids are lost due to being left in hot cars.
If the child seems responsive, stand by the vehicle and watch over them until their parent or parents arrive. If they look distressed or unresponsive, get involved and call 911 immediately to get the child to a hospital. Do not leave the scene until help arrives.
6. Invest in car seats with integrated reminder technology
It is important to ensure your kids are safe and in the car seat, but sometimes, with everything that's on your mind as a parent, you can forget your child is in the vehicle with you. Maybe you assume they're at day care or at home with your spouse.
Fortunately, some devices come with reminders for busy parents. For example, the smart car seat Goodbaby’s SensorSafe by Evenflow works by using two components: a smart chest clip and a wireless receiver. The sensor alerts a parent if a child is still in the vehicle, so they do not forget them.
At Tastyganics, we have found that car seats that rely on integrated reminder technology (such as Goodbaby's SensorSafe by Evenflow) instead of user activation are most effective.
Top Five Common Dangers to Children Under 3
Children who have died in hot cars fall in the category of common dangers to children under 3. Make sure to watch your little one closely in these scenarios -- it only takes a moment for tragedy to strike.
- Sleep-related deaths
- Car-safety deaths (road accidents, hot vehicle deaths)
- Water-related deaths (drowning)
- Fire-related deaths
Where to Buy Safety Items for Kids
The most likely deaths due to heatstroke in the summer are kids in a hot car. Thousands of families have lost children due to this senseless scenario. What is most tragic is that these children may not have died if parents or caregivers took some simple precautions.
If you want to purchase safety products for your child, check out the Tastyganics site. We have various products that provide enhanced safety for children. In addition, check out our blog for essential items every baby or toddler needs.
Shop online today if you already have an account or create your account today to get started on enhancing your child’s safety. Feel free to email us if you have any questions.
- Jennifer Akiyama