It’s an annual warning some people may tire of hearing, but the problem of kids locked in hot cars endures. According to KidsandCars.org, an advocacy group, 38 youngsters die every year after being left in hot cars—that’s one every nine days.
At this writing, at least 24 children left in cars have died this year from heatstroke, according to data from the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences. And according to the National Highway and Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA), an unknown number of children are injured each year because they were left in hot cars. Among those injuries are permanent brain damage, blindness and hearing loss.
Often, heatstroke strikes after a playful child gets into an unlocked vehicle without a parent's knowledge. It strikes when a parent or caregiver who is not used to transporting a child as part of his or her daily routine forgets that there’s a sleeping infant in a rear-facing car seat in the back of the vehicle.
Even when the weather seems mild, the temperature inside a parked car can reach hazardous levels within 10 minutes, even with a window rolled down two inches. So if you plan to leave a kid in a car only for a minute while you run into the store, cleaners, neighbor’s house … don’t—children are more susceptible to heatstroke than adults because they overheat more easily; infants and children younger than 4 are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.
Last year, we wrote about devices that purport to protect against leaving children in cars, but that were found to be less than effective.
Much better to inform yourself about measures you should take regularly to ensure tragedy doesn’t happen to you. Link here for 13 safety tips about keeping your kids safe from overheated cars. For more information about kids and heatstroke, visit this page from Safe Kids Worldwide.