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Kids in Hot Cars

The National Safety Council has released a groundbreaking report on pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH) titled, Kids in Hot Cars; a Legislative Look Across the U.S.

On average, 37 children die each year due to PVH; 42 children died during 2017, alone. All of these deaths were preventable.

In an effort to better understand and document this risk, NSC works with partner experts, including Jan Null, a certified consulting meteorologist and adjunct professor at San Jose State University. Mr. Null has been tracking child deaths resulting from vehicular heatstroke since 1998, and his work provides the basis for data and information in this report.

The objective of the report is to:

  • Support stronger laws to protect children from being knowingly left unattended in vehicles
  • Increase awareness and understanding of vehicle heating dynamics
  • Increase awareness of the risk of children gaining access to vehicles on their own
  • Encourage policies for childcare providers
  • Recommend study of factors that contribute to unknowingly leaving a child in a vehicle

The report also features a first-hand account of a father who lost his beloved daughter.

Dozens of children die needlessly this way every year, and it can happen to anyone. Please read and share this life-saving information.

Additional Resources

Ten minutes. That’s how long it takes for the temperature inside a vehicle to rise 20 degrees. For children in particular, this increase is enough to result in death.

Safe Kids Worldwide produced a toolkit that includes a printable tip sheet: Everything you need to know to keep your kids safe from heatstroke. Here are five recommendations:

  • Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute
  • Keep your car locked when you are not in it so kids don’t gain access
  • Create reminders by putting something in the back seat next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse, cell phone or your left shoe
  • If you see a child alone in a car, call 911
  • Set a calendar reminder on your electronic device to make sure you dropped your child off at daycare; develop a plan so you will be alerted if your child is late or a no-showTechnology Can be Part of the Solution

NSC backs efforts to use technology to prevent children from being forgotten in vehicles. Without offering an endorsement of any vehicle or product, NSC provides the following information to help parents and guardians protect their most precious passengers:

  • Rear Seat Reminder: If a rear door is opened and closed within 10 minutes before the vehicle is started, or is opened and closed while the vehicle is running, five chimes will sound and a message will display on the instrument panel when the vehicle shuts off to remind the driver to check the rear seat. This technology is available on several 2017 GM vehicles.
  • Car Seat Technology: This technology generates a series of tones activated through a “smart” chest clip and wireless receiver to remind the driver that a child is in the rear seat within two seconds of turning off the vehicle.

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