Every year, approximately 38 children left in parked cars die of heatstroke. Not only is leaving a child unattended in a parked vehicle — even for a short time with the windows cracked slightly – against the law in many states, it is extremely dangerous. The temperature inside a parked vehicle can rise nearly 20 degrees in the first ten minutes, and even on days when the weather is mild with temperatures in the 60s, a vehicle’s interior can reach temperatures of 110 degrees.
In many cases, parents or caretakers simply forgot the child was in the backseat, often as the result in a changed routine. Other children die of hyperthermia — a condition in which the body’s thermoregulation ceases to function properly at temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter – after becoming trapped inside of a vehicle in which they were playing unattended.
To reduce the danger hot cars can pose to children, safety experts recommend instructing children to stay away from unattended vehicles and to never play inside of one. Keep all car keys and keyless entry fobs out of the reach of children. To help remind you that a child is inside the vehicle if your routine is changed, experts advise making arrangements with your child’s daycare or school to have someone call you in the event your child has not been dropped off at the regular time. Keeping your purse or briefcase in the backseat with the child can also serve as a reminder that the child is in the car.