According to the National Safety Council, almost 800 children have died from vehicular heatstroke since 1998; 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 or pets should never be left unattended or able to gain access to the inside of a vehicle.
The NSC says the three primary circumstances resulting in deaths of children and pets in hot cars are:
- A caregiver forgetting a child/pet in a vehicle
- The child gaining access to the vehicle
- Someone knowingly leaving a child/pet in the vehicle
Scottsdale Fire Department joins the NSC to advise 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. There is no safe time to leave a child or pet in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand.
Get more information and take an e-learning course on the kids in hot cars page at the National Safety Council.