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What you should know about hot car deaths

Over 35 kids die in overheated vehicles each year in the United States which adds up to over 600 fatalities since 1998. Each year parents react similarly: horrified when it happens yet firmly believing it would never happen to them.


That majority of parents think that they could never forget their child in a car and even take no preventative measures to keep it from happening, according to a new survey. The fact is, if hot car deaths can happen to good parents it can happen to anyone.


When learning about a child dying in a hot vehicle, over 60% of parents in the survey stated that their reaction would be to think that no responsible parent would ever leave their kid in a hot car. Yet only 22% of parents stated that they would consider taking precautions to ensure it wouldn’t happen to them.


So the question is: how could an otherwise responsible and caring parent forget their child in a vehicle? The answer has to do with the way the human brain works. When we are doing our routine tasks, the brain will often work on “auto pilot” filling in the gaps in our memory. Any person is capable for forgetting that a child is in a car due to memory failure during daily tasks.


While several companies are designing technological solutions to help this problem, there are some easy things parents can do right now to prevent such a tragedy happening to them.


Simple Steps to Make Sure You NEVER Forget a Child in a Car:


  1. Always put a needed item in the backseat with your child. This could be a briefcase, lunch, or purse. Then you must always look back there to retrieve it when exiting your car.


  1. Drive with a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the back seat. This can be a constant reminder to look behind you.


  1. Get in the habit of always scanning your vehicle before you leave it.


  1. Set up a plan with your daycare provider or school teacher that is your child doesn’t show up at daycare or school without prior notice, they will promptly call a parent to locate the child.


  1. If you ever do see a child alone in a vehicle, call for help right away.


When all is said and done, we hope that everyone takes these precautions which are simple to do. These kind of tragedies can happen to anyone and thankfully there are ways we can prevent it. For more information and a link to the survey, go to