April 29, 2021 - Today it was confirmed that a North Carolina 5-month-old baby lost her little life after being left alone in a hot car last Sunday, April 25. Preliminary findings from the autopsy report point to the cause of death being environmental hyperthermia which is consistent with statements provided by the mother.
Saturday, May 1st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Though it is too late for this little girl, we need to double our efforts to focus on education and awareness regarding the dangers of hot cars.
This year, Kids and Car Safety is emphasizing that there are technological solutions to put an end to the devastation seen every year of children and animals dying excruciating deaths in hot cars.
"After more than 20 years of public education, the number of children dying in hot cars has gotten worse, not better," stated Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars Safety. "The years 2018 and 2019 were the worst in history with a total of over 100 children that died in hot cars nationwide," she continued.
Education and public awareness are important, but not enough. Children will continue to die in hot cars until technological solutions that can sense the presence of a child are standard in all vehicles.
The Hot Cars Act is a federal bill that will be reintroduced in the coming weeks that requires technology that can detect the presence of a child in all new vehicles to prevent hot car injury and death. This technology is readily available and affordable.
“The only thing more tragic than a child or animal dying in a hot car is knowing that there are solutions that exist that could prevent this. By not utilizing available technology to sense a child or pet alone inside a vehicle, we are shamefully allowing this to happen over and over again. The price of inaction is the life of children and that is unacceptable,” said Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Car Safety.
Nobody believes that a hot car tragedy is going to happen to them or their family until it does. Kids and Car Safety is calling on the public to take action today by learning what to do if they see a child alone in a vehicle. The organization is also encouraging parents to adopt several simple habits to protect their children, even if they believe this could never happen to them.
Look Before You Lock Safety Checklist
Create simple habits to help keep your child safe.
Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:
- Place the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind. To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
- Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
- Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.
Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:
Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
- Never leave car keys within reach of children.
- Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
- Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.
Kids and Car Safety and their safety partners will be sharing posts via social media throughout the day about how child vehicular heatstroke can be prevented with the use of technology. They are calling on the public and media outlets to join in to support this national effort.
Kids and Car Safety has prepared posts, photos, and graphics that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, and websites, etc. to help raise awareness about the importance of adding existing technology to vehicles to help end these predictable and preventable hot car fatalities.
Sample social media posts:
- An occupant detection system in cars could prevent hot car deaths. #PasstheHotCarsAct #heatstrokekills
- Technology exists to prevent hot car deaths… what are we waiting for? #PasstheHotCarsAct
- Cars can alert us of children in the back seat and save precious little lives. #PasstheHotCarsAct #heatstrokekills
- See a child or animal alone in a car? Get involved! Call 911 immediately. #heatstrokekills #lookbeforeyoulock