Keeping Kids Safe in Cars

Whether it’s a hot sunny day or a cold, snowy night, it is NEVER a good idea to leave your children alone in a car. On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.

> Download the “Keep Kids Safe in Cars” Fact Sheet in English
> Download the “Proteja a los Niños” Fact Sheet in Spanish
> Listen to the Parenting Today Radio Show on Kids and Cars (mp3)

ART_KidsinCars2016“But I can crack the windows and lock the doors…”
It is still NOT SAFE to leave your child alone in a car. Cracking the windows is not an effective way to reduce the temperature in a car. Plus, car doors can easily be locked and unlocked by children — even by babies under 1 year old. Time alone in a car can be dangerous because of other risk factors as well, such as pulling the emergency brake or being abducted.

“But I’m just making a quick stop…”
Even a quick errand (like the post office or drycleaner) is too long to leave a child alone in a car. Any length of time can be deadly. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke (or hyperthermia) can occur in just minutes for infants and young children. This is also true for hypothermia in cold weather.

“But the car doesn’t seem too hot to me…”
Adults are less sensitive to heat than children. Even if the inside of a car doesn’t feel warm, it could be fatally hot for children. A child’s body temperature increases 3-5 times faster than that of an adult. If a child is ill or has other health problems, heat stroke can occur even faster.

What should I do if my child has been left or is accidentally trapped inside a car?