Never Leave Kids in the Car Alone

child in car

As of September 2016, 29 children died from being left in a hot car for hours. This numbers are up from 2015's and rising.
Whether it's from gear-shifted crashes, sweltering temperatures, locking parents out of a car, trunk entrapments, or playing with windows and getting limbs (or necks even) caught, horrific accidents can and do happen in a blink of an eye. And, in some states, it can be considered a misdemeanor offense of leaving a child in the car alone; the offense can become a felony if there are resulting injuries.

Without thinking it through, it is easy to understand why parents feel it is okay to leave a child alone in a car for a very small amount of time to perform a quick errand. These parents who don't think twice about leaving a child alone for just a wee minute typically dote on their youngster and would never willingly place him/her in harm's way. Waking a sleeping child or getting a toddler out of a child seat in freezing cold or less-than-ideal weather is sometimes such a hassle when the errand can be done within a minute or two. But, while the actions can be explained, the consequences could never ever be undone if the unthinkable does occur. As a result, the sound parenting advice remains the same: don't ever leave a child in a car alone, even for a moment.

When it’s 90 degrees outside, it takes just 10 minutes for the temperature inside a stationary car to rise to a life-threatening 109 degrees

On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. On a sunny 70-degree day, it only takes 30 minutes for the temperature inside a car to reach 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees.”

An examination of the 661 child vehicular heatstroke deaths for an 18-year period (1998 through 2015) shows the following circumstances:

  • 54% - child "forgotten" by caregiver (356 Children)
  • 29% - child playing in an unattended vehicle (189)
  • 17% - child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (111)
  • 1% - circumstances unknown (5)

20 states have Unattended Child Laws that have specific language addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. The remaining 30 states do not have laws specifically against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Another 14 states have had previously proposed unattended child laws. There are 10 states with "Good Samaritan Laws" with specific language that protects persons who see a child in a car and take action to render assistance.

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