It seems so simple — never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Yet on average, every 10 days a child dies in the United States in a vehicle from heat exposure. Within recent years in Florida:
- A 3-year-old boy died after he was forgotten in a vehicle and left there 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 allegedly left him in the car and forgot about him.
And just this month, police reported that 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 too hot out, children are at risk of heatstroke if they are left in an enclosed vehicle. When the outdoor temperature is between 72 to 96 degrees, the temperature inside a vehicle can jump up 40 degrees in just one hour. Cracking the windows has little effect.
In addition to never leaving children alone in vehicles, always lock the doors and trunk and make sure 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 locate and use the emergency trunk release in all 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 don't get in on their own.
C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse or cell phone.
T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
• Safe Kids Palm Beach County
• Safe Kids Worldwide