A Call to Action
We’ve all heard the horror stories about children (and pets) being injured or even killed by being left in a hot vehicle. Sometimes, a child accidentally locks herself in a car while playing unattended. Sometimes, a distracted adult inadvertently leaves a child in a car. Still other times, a caregiver actively chooses to leave the child in a car. Whatever the reason, though, these injuries and deaths are completely preventable.
It breaks my heart to hear these stories so, I’ve decided to do something about it. I created this website to serve as a resource to help combat this problem by:
increasing the overall awareness of the issue
providing information on the dangers of leaving children unattended vehicles
providing ways that we all can help to avoid these tragedies
I urge you to share this site on your social media platforms and encourage your friends to do the same. We CAN make a difference if we work together to raise awareness and get the information to as many people as possible.
The statistics are sobering and heartbreaking. According to WheresBaby.org:
An average of 38 children have died in hot cars each year in the USA since 1998. That's one child death every 9 days.
Since 1998, more than 700 children have died in vehicles from heat stroke in the USA.
More than 70% of heat stroke deaths occur in children younger than age 2.
More than half of heat stroke deaths occur because a caregiver forgot the child in the car.
Roughly 30% of heat stroke deaths occur because the child got in the car without a caregiver knowing and couldn't get out.
Nearly 20% of deaths occur because a caregiver intentionally left the child in the car.
Connecticut Dept of Transportation, et al. “Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock”, 2020 https://www.wheresbaby.org/
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children.
Vehicle heatstroke occurs when a child is left in a hot vehicle, allowing for the child’s temperature to rise in a quick and deadly manner.
Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermo-regulatory system is overwhelmed.
A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.
Even in cooler temperatures, your vehicle can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. An outside temperature in the mid-60s can cause a vehicle’s inside temperature to rise above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
The inside temperature of your car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes.
Heatstroke does not only occur during the summertime or in the Sun Belt States. This deadly issue can occur at any time of year, in any weather condition, in any community— for any parent.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Children are at a higher risk than adults of dying from heatstroke in a hot vehicle especially when they are too young to communicate.
Children overheat up to five times faster than adults.
NHTSA. “Child Safety-Heatstroke” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2020 https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/child-safety
DHHS."Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock. Administration for Children and Families, 2020 https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ecd/interagency-projects/look-before-you-lock
NEVER purposefully leave a child unattended in a vehicle for any reason.
When someone else is driving your child to a destination, always check to make sure your child made it safely.
When placing your child in the vehicle, place an item you'll need later in the back seat, such as...
Purse, briefcase or wallet
Your left shoe!
Place a visual reminder in plain sight in or on your vehicle.
To avoid children accidentally locking themselves in an unattended vehicle...
Talk to your kids about the dangers and let them know it's never ok to play in an unattended vehicle.
Lock all doors and trunks when a vehicle is not in use.
When it comes to childcare...
If you're dropping off the kids, but your spouse usually does so, ask him/her to call you to make sure drop off occurred.
Ask your child care provider to call you if your child isn't dropped off as expected.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
If you see a child alone in a car, don’t worry about getting involved in someone else’s business—protecting children is everyone’s business; besides, “Good Samaritan” laws offer legal protection for those who offer assistance in an emergency.
Here’s What You Can Do
Don’t wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return.
If the child is not responsive or is in distress, immediately:
Get the child out of the car.
Spray the child with cool water (not in an ice bath).
If the child is responsive:
Stay with the child until help arrives.
Have someone else search for the driver or ask the facility to page them.
Reference: NHTSA. “Child Safety-Heatstroke” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2020 https://www.nhtsa.gov/child-safety/preventing-heatstroke-what-do-if-you-see-child-alone-car
Information from the following sources were referenced here on this website. However, each of these sites have a wealth of information - both on this particular topic and on other topics that may be of interest to you.
ProtectTheHelpless.org provides links to other websites only for the convenience of its users. ProtectTheHelpless.org is not responsible for the availability or content of these external sites, nor does it endorse, warrant, or guarantee the products, services, or information described or offered on these external sites.
My name is Chuck Carter and I live in the Upstate of South Carolina with my husband of 20+ years and our two amazing kids. My family is my passion and you'll almost always find me spending time with (or talking about) them. They are a blessing and a gift. Life is too short to take that for granted.
For years, I have heard heartbreaking news stories of kids being injured or killed by being left in vehicles. I felt so helpless about it, until I had an idea. So much helpful information exists on the internet already; what if I gathered some of this information and related resources into one easy-to-use site? If I could reach enough people, perhaps working together, we COULD raise awareness and prevent these tragedies!
This website is the culmination of that idea. I have visited countless sites to gather the most relevant, helpful information that I could find. Some sites I visited and referenced were federal, state and local government sites. Others were organizations committed to child safety. Some were even from other countries.
I have tried to be diligent in citing each source I've used. This is important to me because: 1) The author should receive credit for their work; and 2) You should know where the information comes from. If I have overlooked a citation or failed to provide credit to an author, it was a pure oversight and in no way intentional.