have to admit, I have been guilty of leaving my child unattended in the car. After reading your story, I will NEVER do it again."
"My heart goes out to those who have suffered as a result of this
practice, which happens
everyday, and I feel that legislation, as well as public education on this subject is desperately needed."
July 26, 2002
Heat Can Mean Danger
A father is driving to the grocery store on a hot, sunny day. In
the back seat, safe in her car seat, 16 month old Kelsey has fallen
asleep. When they arrive at the shopping center, the father, reluctant to wake
her, leaves her sleeping peacefully "just for a minute." He
puts the window down a crack, intending to return quickly.
Twenty minutes later, he hurries to the car only to find Kelsey unconscious.
She is pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, her body temperature
having reached 106 degrees.
Even with a window cracked, temperatures inside an
automobile can rise to deadly extremes in a very short period--within 10 to
15 minutes. Temperatures inside motor vehicles can quickly become
dangerously high, even on relatively mild days. To find out just how high
and how quickly cars heat up, click
to read "A Preliminary Study of Temperatures in Enclosed
So far this year KidsNCars has documented
63 deaths of children as a result of being left alone in or around cars, 16 of these were
heat-related. Because there is no national data system these numbers are
believed to be far lower than the true figures. (CDC
Report) Clearly the need for a national database to track these incidents is
urgent. The scope of the problem and the particular details of each
incident need to be tracked so that appropriate prevention policies can be
What You Can Do Now
- Children should never be left alone in a motor
vehicle, not even for you to run a quick errand.
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage
- Teach your children to never play in or around a
- Keys should never be left within reach of children.
- Always make sure that all child passengers have left
the car after it is parked.
- If a child is locked inside a car, get him or her out
as quickly as possible. If she or he is very hot or seems sick, call 911
or your local emergency number immediately.
- When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks
What Can Be Done
- Legislation should be enacted in states that don't currently have laws to
discourage people from leaving children unattended in motor vehicles.
- Technological solutions need to be developed that would prevent motor
vehicles from reaching dangerous interior temperatures, or that would
prevent parents from leaving a child unattended.
- Support KidsNCars and others working to prevent these needless deaths and
Related news stories, articles, and websites:
Actual Cases to
read recent stories.
A little paranoia could save a child
Preliminary Study of Temperatures in Enclosed Vehicles
Children's Trust Fund