The hot summer months are quickly approaching, and while many are excited about the impending warmer weather, it's important that people realize the heat can pose some serious health risks. Every year there are new reports about children being left in hot cars, sometimes the result of simply being forgotten while other times they are left when a parent or caregiver runs an errand. July is typically the deadliest month when it comes to children being left in hot cars, but a new study shows that 2018 was the deadliest year ever when it comes to children being left.
A new report by the National Safety Council states that 2018 saw a record number of children die as a result of being left in hot vehicles. Last year 52 children died from being left in hot cars, the most fatalities seen over the last 20 years. Vehicular heatstroke has claimed the lives of close to 800 children over the past twenty years, a statistic that is alarming. The National Safety Council points out that almost a quarter of those deaths happened in the parking lot of an employer, where children were left when either the parent or caregiver went to work.
On average, 38 children a year die in hot cars, Kids and Cars reports. So far in 2019 three children have already died, and the hot summer months aren't even here yet. The main reasons for a child being left in a hot car are that they are forgotten, they have somehow managed to get into the car without a parent or caregiver's knowledge, or they are left intentionally.
The NSC is hoping to reduce the number of hot car deaths by encouraging parents and caregivers to be more diligent when children are in their car. Sticking to routines helps parents and caregivers to avoid distractions that could result in leaving a child in a car. They even recommend placing something like a purse, smartphone or even shoe in the back seat as a reminder. Most importantly they stress that leaving a child in a vehicle, even for a short period of time, is unsafe and should always be avoided. The NSC also suggests that parents and caregivers ensure their vehicle is locked at all times and educate their children that cars are not toys and are not to be played in.
There is increased technology becoming available, from car seat alarms to rear door alarms that alert parents if they forget their child in the backseat. With the hot weather approaching it's important that parents and caregivers do whatever they need to ensure that more children aren't left to die in hot cars.