Higher temperatures are among us as summer rapidly approaches, and new statistics have experts urging parents to never leave children unattended in hot cars.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 51 children died in hot cars in the United States in 2018, the highest number of deaths in U.S. history. The previous single-year high was in 2010 when 49 deaths in hot cars were reported, according to US News & World Report. And in 2019, three children under the age of 15 have already died from pediatric vehicular heatstroke.
“Last year, we set one of the saddest records in U.S. roadway safety history,” said Nick Smith, NSC interim president and CEO.
In an effort to educate the public, the NSC has released a free online course called Children in Hot Cars. The 15-minute interactive video paints a clear picture of the distractions that many parents and caregivers face, which often lead to children dying in overheated vehicles. It then provides various practices to prevent further tragedies from happening.
Think it can’t happen to you? Think again.
According to the NSC, hot-car deaths are a form of distracted driving in which the driver often forgets there is a child in the back seat, and in many unfortunate cases, does not remember until it’s too late.
“We believe this new training will go a long way toward educating people about pediatric vehicular heatstroke and empowering them with tips so they can avoid behaviors that can lead to these tragic deaths,” Smith said in an NSC news release.
Some of the recommendations from the video include:
- Maintain a routine to reduce the risk of forgetting a child in a vehicle.
Kidsincars.org recommends doing this by making a habit of opening the back door every time you park the car to ensure no one gets left behind.