Tips on How to Prevent Hot Car Deaths

It is that time of year where some of us think about what we can do to prevent hot car deaths for our little ones. The scary stories on the media of a small child being left behind in a car that reaches unbearable temperatures. The statistics are also quite alarming. Small children are at the most risk because their tiny bodies can’t regulate temperature like adults do and their small bodies don’t take long to heat up. Small children are also at greater risk in general from dehydration. Outdoors may feel like a nice 80 degrees, but inside the car can easily reach over 120 within the hour. Here are some tips to be sure the little ones don’t get left behind:

1. Never Leave a Child in a Car Unattended

Simply put, don’t do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the winter, it’s nighttime, the air conditioner is on, or if you’re parked in the shade. Always take your kids with you if there is not another supervising adult in the car. If you know someone that is willing to leave a child in the car while they run inside somewhere “real quick”, never leave your child with them.

2. Lock Car Doors and Put Keys Away

After everyone is safety exited from the car, make sure all the doors are locked and put your keys where your children cannot reach them and a place where you will remember them of course. It is easy for a child to get inside a car and not be able to get out resulting in a deadly situation.

3. Open the Back Door First

Every time you exit your vehicle, open the back door before you close your door. I do this each time as a reminder, “You have a little one in that back seat.” I do it so habitually that I tend to do it even if the little one didn’t take a trip into town with me that day. It’s a good habit to get into. It may take a few seconds more of your time, but a life is worth more than some of your time.

4. Look Inside Each Car Seat

Don’t only look from the front seat into the back seat. Looking in through the windows isn’t good enough, either. Get out of the car, open the back doors, and look into each seat. This way you don’t mistakenly miss a rear faced baby for example while looking from the front seat into the back.

5. Check In

If you have a spouse, friend, or family member that will be picking your child up and dropping them off somewhere, have them text you or call you to say they were dropped off safely. You can contact them within a few minutes of the time they should be arriving to their destination and ask them how drop off went. If you are with a family or friend and you are running in somewhere and they let you run ahead and say they will get your child out of the car, doubt check that they remembered to get your child out of the car.

6. Have Daycare/Babysitter Call You

If someone is dropping off your child, have them text you or call you to let you know that your child made it safely. Also, have the daycare or babysitter call you if the child has not arrived within 10 minutes of expected arrival.

7. Have Someone Sit in the Backseat

If possible, have another adult sit in the backseat next to the baby. If the driver forgets for any reason, there is a passenger that see’s the baby.

8. Place An Item in the Backseat

If you are on your way to work and have folders, a laptop, your work badge, or something of importance that you need to do your job, leave it beside the baby (where they can’t reach it, of course). This way you will have to look in the back seat.

9. Use a Stuffed Animal

I’ve never done this one, but I have heard of it and it isn’t a bad idea. Put a stuffed animal in the car seat. Every time you put the baby in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat or somewhere up front with the driver.

10. Don’t Be in a Hurry

In today’s society we are usually in a hurry, trying to get somewhere quickly. Those days where we are nearly late to work happens, and do your best to remain calm so you don’t forget anything or anyone.

11. Get Adequate Sleep

It is no secret that parents don’t always get adequate sleep when they have a baby in the house. It does happen. When sleep is missed or skipped over, it’s easy to be forgetful or imagine ourselves doing something that we didn’t (like lying in bed and imagining yourself getting dressed when you are still in bed in your pj’s). It makes it easy to forget the simplest of things and that can include leaving your child in the backseat.

12. If You Have a Gut Feeling…

That you left your child behind in the car if you are at work on in the store – don’t sit any wait. Don’t wait until your lunch break, don’t wait until you finish your shopping trip. Go out to your car and look in the backseat to be sure.


Do you have any tips to help avoid hot car deaths? Share below!

[Image credit: Gerrie van der Walt at]

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