Last week, at least 3 children have died inside hot cars nationwide. With family routines shifting for summer break and coming off a long holiday weekend, Kids and Car Safety Kids and Car Safety is urgently calling for extra caution. Don’t let the picture above above you remembering.
Already this year at least 6 children have died in hot cars, including one in our state in Puyallup. Since 1990, over 1,050 children have died in hot cars and at least another 7,300 survived with varying types and severities of injuries, according to data collected by Kids and Car Safety.
2023 Hot Car Fatalities:
5/28/23 – Palm Bay, FL, 11-month-old was unknowingly left in a hot car
5/26/23 – Houston, TX, 4-year-old got into a car on own (+ 2-year-old survived)
5/25/23 – Puyallup, WA, 1-year-old was unknowingly left
5/16/23 – Prosperity, FL, 2-year-old girl was unknowingly left
3/6/23 – Port St. Lucie, FL, 2-year-old boy was unknowingly left
2/27/23 – Atmore, AL, 2-year-old boy was unknowingly left
A change in the normal daily routine and fatigue are the most common contributing factors for a child being unknowingly left behind in a vehicle. When the right circumstances align, losing awareness of a child in the back seat can happen to even the most safety conscious caregiver.
Most hot car fatalities involve children who were unknowingly left by an otherwise loving, responsible parent or caregiver (55%). Additionally, about a fourth (25%) of children who die in hot cars got into the car on their own and became trapped, of which 68% were little boys. Eighty-eight (88%) percent of children who die in hot cars are age 3 or younger.
Families and caregivers should take extra precautions any time they’re experiencing a change in routine. Families should create habits to protect their children using Kids and Car Safety’s Look Before You Lock safety checklist.
“It is unfathomable for families to continue burying children when occupant detection technology exists and is readily available to install in all new cars today. These precious children do not have to die in this preventable way,” said Janette Fennell, president and founder of Kids and Car Safety.
In November 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. It includes a provision that addresses hot car tragedies by requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a safety standard requiring technology in new passenger vehicles. The final rule is due in November 2023, yet the NHTSA has yet to issue the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and appears to be behind schedule.
Kids and Car Safety is calling for swift action from the NHTSA to issue the hot car safety standard without delay and to ensure that the safety standard will address hot car tragedies in a comprehensive manner which must include occupant detection.
As the NHTSA continues to work on issuing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for hot car technology, automakers do not have to wait. Occupant detection and alert technology costing less than $50 is currently available and provides comprehensive and compelling solutions to end these needless tragedies. Automakers can and they should begin installing this technology immediately.
Hot Car Dangers Fact Sheet Heatstroke Fact Sheet
Hot Car Fatality Data Hot Car Fatality Data
Hot Car Technology Current State of Affairs Hot Car Technology
What to do if you see a child alone in a vehicle – What to Do if you See Child Alone in Vehicle
As a last reminder, please remember your cherished pets as well. Hundreds of pets die in hot vehicles each year according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Just a minute with cracked windows doesn’t cut it.