Don't Let Your Child Be Out of Sight, Out of Mind
A pediatrician. A paralegal. A college professor. A construction worker. A mental health counselor. What do all of these people have in common? They have all left their babies in the car, resulting in the child's death—and it's happening more each year. According to the National Safety Council, the number of child hot car deaths for 2022 was 33. On average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Nearly every state has experienced at least one death since 1998. In both 2018 and 2019 a record number of 53 children died after being left in a hot vehicle.
You might wonder how this can happen or what type of parent would forget their child is with them in the car, but the truth is it has happened to parents of all economic classes and ethnicities. It could happen to a grandparent who may not be used to having your child on a regular basis. It could even happen to you.
Children dying of hyperthermia in their car seats rarely happened before car seat laws changed in the 1990s. That's when car seats were required to be placed in the back seat. The combination of a quiet, sleeping baby in a car seat in the back seat and a parent with a lot on his or her mind, or even a change in the daily routine, can result in this type of disaster.
Preventing an Unthinkable Tragedy
Preventing this type of mistake is fairly simple. Try one of these tips to help ensure your child's safety:
- Purchase a car seat monitor that senses a child's weight in the car seat and sounds an alert or alarm when the car is parked.
- Put something you'll need when you arrive at your destination like a cell phone, purse, work ID badge, etc. in the back seat next to the car seat.
- Put a teddy bear in the car seat when your child isn't in it. When you put your child in the car seat, put the teddy bear next to you as a reminder.
- Put the child's diaper bag on your lap or as close as you can to yourself without it interfering with safe operation of your vehicle.