In over half of these confirmed deaths, the parent forgot their child was in the car. This is usually from a change of routine. In 29% of cases the child was playing in an unlocked vehicle then got locked in, and 19% of cases the parent left the child for a moment then got distracted and forgot their child. Parents and caregivers need to understand that the body of a baby can heat up 3-5 times faster than that of an adult. As a result children should NEVER be left alone in a motor vehicle.
Pro Consumer Safety urges parents, caregivers and other adults to practice the following guidelines to help keep children safe:
- Never leave child alone in a motor vehicle, not even for a minute (in 19 states it is illegal to leave a child alone in a motor vehicle. See link to laws below). Take your child with you first before leaving your car.
- Leave Reminders: After you buckle your child up in their appropriate child safety restraint, leave reminders on the back floor next to your child, such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone (something needed at your final destination). This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine such as a different parent taking the baby to day care. Also request that your day care provider or babysitter call you anytime the baby does not show up. This prevents forgetfulness during a change in routine.
- Lock Your Car: Keep your car locked when you’re not in it so children are unable to climb in on their own.
- Call 911: If you see a child alone in a motor vehicle, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.