Look Before You Lock: Hot Car Deaths Continue to Increase

The unimaginable continues to happen year after year across the United States. Children and pets are left inside hot vehicles on warm to hot days, which usually ends in tragedy.

On average, 38 children die each year from heat-related deaths while being trapped inside unattended vehicles. So far this year, there have already been 17 deaths. We’re off to a very bad start this year after 2018 ended up being the most tragic ever recorded with 52 heat-related car deaths. Despite the warnings each year, these unthinkable deaths continue, when in reality they should be totally preventable.

Graphic courtesy of kidsandcars.org

The campaign being pushed across America to help prevent these deaths is called “Look Before You Lock!” Look in the back of your car before you lock it and leave. Most deaths occur because parents forgot they had their kids with them. But sometimes kids crawl in the car without anyone knowing. Also, some parents knowingly leave their kids in the car but think they’ll be ok because the windows are cracked or because they’ll only be gone for half an hour or so. Either way you look at it, always look before you lock your car, and NEVER knowingly leave a child or pet in a car for any number of seconds or minutes. Experts recommend putting something you would need for the day next to your childs car seat so that you’re forced to go back there and get it. Examples include a purse, wallet, or cell phone. There is also seat monitor technology available now, plus new apps that can be downloaded to help with this issue.

Cars heat up very quickly due to the greenhouse effect. There is no proper ventilation inside a vehicle, even when the windows are cracked. Children have died inside vehicles with cracked or open windows, and in environments as cool as 60 degrees. Also, it doesn’t help that statistics show a child’s body overheats 3-5 times fast than an adults. On a nice 80° day, the inside of a car can reach close to 115° in less than half an hour. The inside of a car can reach as high as almost 150° on a day when the outside temperature is around 100°. Just think about those hot days when you run to your car, get in, and you quickly turn on the car and blast the AC to cool down because of how hot it was in your car from sitting there. And then think of what some of these kids went through when they had no AC for hours. Below is list of the children who have died so far this year. The youngest was 3 months old and the oldest was 4 years old.

Graphic courtesy of kidsandcars.org

800 heat-related car deaths have occurred since 1998, and the number of deaths have increased each year since 2016. July just started and we’re already dealing with a high number of deaths so far. Unfortunately, the summer only gets hotter, so please remember to look before you lock.

Categories: Weather Blog