It seems so simple — never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Yet on average, a child dies in a vehicle from heat exposure every 10 days in the United States.
In recent years in Florida:
- A 3-year-old boy died after he was forgotten in a vehicle and left for three hours while his family attended a funeral.
- A 2-year-old boy who wandered into a family car was found dead on the floorboard hours after he was reported missing.
- An 11-month-old boy died from heat exposure after his mother left him in the car and forgot about him.
- A 17-month-old died after being left in the car for eight hours while his mother went to work.
Even when it’s not so hot out, children are at risk of heatstroke if left in an enclosed vehicle. When the outdoor temperature is 72 to 96 degrees, the temperature inside a vehicle can jump up 40 degrees in just an hour. Cracking the windows has little effect.
In addition to never leaving children alone in vehicles, lock the doors and trunk and ensure keys and remote entry fobs are out of children’s sight and reach. Teach children that trunks are not safe places and show older children how to find and use the emergency trunk release in cars made since 2002.
Remember to ACT:
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Make sure you keep your car locked when you're not in it so kids can't get in on their own.
C: Create reminders by putting something important next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse or cell phone.
T: Take action. Call 911 if you see a child alone in a car.
• Safe Kids Palm Beach County
• Safe Kids Worldwide